Chris Ripken

(USA) - Team Member, Teacher Explorer

Chris Ripken

Chris is a social studies teacher at the Centennial Senior High School in Minnesota.

A man of many interests, Chris' world centers around geography and exploration - He breathes geography and he travels the world: as GoNorth! Teacher Explorer 2009 he traveled with the Polar Huskies as part of Team GoNorth! to make way across the spine of Baffin Island during the GoNorth! Nunavut 2009 adventure learning expedition.

Later that year he was off to Africa to work with the organization H2O for Life. Chris and his amazing students first raised $10,000 to be used to to make clean water available and sustainable for the Wad Mali School in Sudan -- which Chris and students then went to take part of setting up!

Its no big surprise that Chris was selected Teacher of the Year 2009 for the Centennial School District and, as one of the top-25 teachers in Minnesota by the 70,000-member statewide educator's union!

Before teaching geography for thirteen years at middle and high school levels, he worked with Habitat for Humanity in Tijuna, Tecate and Juarex in Mexico and led groups of youth and adults into the wilderness of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in northern Minnesota. Tracing his ancestry led him to travel through Norway, Sweden, Germany, Czech Republic, and the Netherlands. Chris is passionate about growing and learning, not least alongside his students.

Teaching with the mantra that 'if you want students to understand something, make it meaningful,' Chris always seek innovative ways to reach students in the classroom. Beyond using GoNorth! to expand the classroom walls for his students to gain a significant global perspective through collaboration and 'real world modeling,' Chris has also enjoyed using Firewise curriculum to teach students and parents how to minimize the threat of wildfires in the community through GIS and onsite assessments. Currently he is working with Lifeskills Center for Leadership in developing and implementing leadership/personal development tools for high school students.

A long time participant in the workshops and programs that the Minnesota Alliance for Geographic Education (MAGE) offered to K-12 Minnesota teachers, Chris joined the MAGE Steering Committee in 2004 and has enjoyed presenting to and working with other educators through workshops and other events such as the Geography Fair and GEOFEST, and has been the state representative for National Geographic Society's Geography Action program in both 2009 and 2010 -- the theme for the 2010 program being freshwater and the world's water resources!

Check out the journal entries from Chris' last GoNorth! expedition >>

To send Chris a note of encouragement or to just to say "Hello" while she is on the expedition. Click here >>