|Amy and Dave Freeman. Photo by Bryan Hansel, www.bryanhansel.com.|
Our friends Amy and Dave Freeman landed their kayaks in Key West on Thursday, April 4, 2013, completing a 3-year, 11,700-mile expedition across North America by kayak, dogsled and canoe.
Over 80,000 elementary and middle school students from around the world have participated in the expedition virtually.
The Freemans began their human (and dog) powered North American Odyssey in Bellingham, WA on Earth Day (April 22) of 2010. The purpose of their expedition is to highlight North America’s waterways
and wild places while engaging students, teachers and armchair adventurers in their journey via www.WildernessClassroom.com.
Close encounters with humpback whales, grizzly bears, caribou, crocodiles and sharks are a few of the highlights of their expedition shared with students. In northern Canada the couple traveled for over
40 days at a time without encountering a road or town and survived -50 F temperatures on a regular basis while dogsledding. They witnessed a range of natural phenomena, from a forest fire in the Northwest Territories to the eerie stillness when the eye of Superstorm Sandy passed over them along the New Jersey coast. The Freemans also met directly with over 25,000 students at presentations they conducted along their route.
According to the Outdoor Foundation's 2012 Outdoor Recreation Participation Report, the biggest reason that children ages 6 to 17 don't participate in outdoor activities is simply a lack of interest in the outdoors. The mission of Wilderness Classroom, 501c3 nonprofit organization, is to increase students' appreciation for the environment while improving core academic skills by introducing students to the wonders of exploration and wilderness travel through live, web-based expeditions and school assemblies. The North American Odyssey has been made possible by generous support from the following sponsors: Current Designs Kayaks, Wenonah Canoe, MTI Adventurewear, North Water Paddle Sports Equipment, Petzl, Go Macro, Mitchell Paddles, ExOfficio, Clif Bar, Wild Gift and many other companies.
We are looking forward to seeing Amy and Dave back in Northeastern Minnesota. We're happy that they'll be back on trail guiding and sharing the Boundary Waters with guests this summer.