Famed polar explorer visits Leonardo da Vinci

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Swan signs autographs for students

Famed polar explorer and motivational speaker Robert Swan drew gasps and applause from Leonardo da Vinci K-8 students last Friday with his riveting tales of trekking to desolate arctic regions.

Swan holds the distinction of being the first person ever to walk unsupported – meaning without GPS, food drops or radio communications – to both the North and South Poles. His observations of the environment during these treks led him to found 2041, an organization dedicated to educating future leaders about environmental issues.

He was invited to speak at Leonardo da Vinci by teacher Kim Williams, past winner of the Coolest Teacher in the World search sponsored by the US Green Building Council. Williams was among 90 individuals selected for the 2012 International Antarctic Expedition to learn more about the Earth’s melting polar caps alongside sustainability. Williams continues to incorporate lessons learned on the trip into her science curriculum.

Swan’s contributions to education and the environment have been recognized through his appointment as United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Youth, a Visiting Professorship of the School of Environment at Leeds University and, in 1994, he became Special Envoy to the Director General of UNESCO. He is TED Talks contributor and regarded as one of the world’s top motivational speakers. A British citizen, Swan was knighted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1995.