Alumna shares experience with dogselds, climate in Arctic

Jill Thomasson

An ISU alumna and former Ames resident spoke to help people make a human connection with the effects of global warming by speaking about her experience in the Arctic.

Her experiences were shared with the Ames Morning Rotary Club on Wednesday.

Elizabeth Andre, who attended Ames High School and majored in Spanish and international studies at Iowa State, endured a 1,200-mile expedition on a dogsled through the mountainous Arctic terrain in order to study and better understand the effects global warming has had on the Inuit people.

Through her dangerous expedition, Andre said she obtained a vision of how things could be different – even better.

Andre believes global warming is one of the most pressing issues facing the world today.

“The climate is warming dramatically and rapidly, and a lot of people don’t see it,” Andre said.

Andre said it is changing so quickly that a large piece of ice the team was planning to travel across had melted, making the trip longer than initially expected.

“We need to act now and act aggressively,” she said.

Sandra Horton, president of the Ames Morning Rotary Club, grew up across the street from Andre’s family.

“Her topic was one that was of great interest,” Horton said. “It was interesting to see where she was going and what she was doing.”

Many members of the club were awed by Andre’s experience.

“It was all fascinating,” said Ames Morning Rotary Club member Sara Gatchel.

Gatchel said she especially enjoyed hearing of the dogsled Andre traveled on and all of the hardships she endured.

Gatchel, who took Andre’s message to heart, said it is sad that all of their resources are going away.

“It’s a wild, new world up there when she showed it first hand,” Gatchel said.

To read more about Andre’s experiences, go to