MEET THE TEAM: ERIC DAYTON
Eric Dayton (USA) - Team Member
Click here if you would like to send Eric a note of encouragement or would just like to say 'Hello' while he is on the expedition.
Eric Dayton is 23 years old, and was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. He is a 2003 graduate of Williams College, with a B.A. in English, and a 1999 graduate of the Blake School. He has worked as a research associate at the Natural Resources Defense Council in the Air & Energy Program. He also lobbied Congress while working with the Alaska Wilderness League to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) from oil drilling. Dayton was a member of the 2002 NOLS Mt. McKinley Expedition, and is also an alumnus of Camp Widjiwagan, in Ely MN. Dayton has trekking experience in Northern Alaska, the Yukon Territory of Canada, and the Annapurna region of Nepal. Fluent in French, his hobbies include skiing and cooking.
In 1996 Dayton traveled with Will Steger through the Brooks Range of Alaska, which is located in ANWR. Visiting that region and seeing its beauty firsthand helped to create in Dayton a strong sense of connection to the region, and is what inspired him to fight for its preservation in Washington, DC. Dayton hopes that the students who follow the Arctic Transect 2004 adventure online will develop a similar sense of connection with the land and people of Nunavut, and will come to understand that their actions in their daily lives impact that region.
Dayton is excited to be a part of the team and to learn from the older and more experienced members. During the expedition he will be in charge of the medical well-being of the team. He will also be doing much of the filming to document the trip, and will assist in the scientific data collection. He thanks his family for their love and support.
Interview with Aaron Doering
Name: Eric Dayton
What is your favorite food?
Pesto pasta with grilled chicken. When we were training as a team in Ely I brought up pesto sauce from home a few times so that I could make the dish for everyone. I'm sure I'll be craving it on trail.
What is your favorite movie?
Drop Dead Fred.
List some of your hobbies or interests.
I love to ski and snowboard, but we don't have any mountains in Minnesota so I mostly do those activities when I am out west. Colorado is my favorite spot because the Rocky Mountains are so incredible. I also like to rock climb, read, and cook. If you consider traveling a hobby, that is something I enjoy as well because foreign languages and cultures fascinate me.
What was one of your favorite classes or subjects in school?
I always liked English because there are so many great books out there to read, and I also like to create my own stories. I had some really good teachers who helped me improve my writing skills.
What advice do you have for the students of today?
Always look for opportunities to learn, even when you are not in the classroom. I am finished with school now, but I still consider myself a student. There are potential teachers everywhere.
How did you choose your current career path? Who or what inspired you?
I don't like to think of what I'm doing right now as a career path. I'm too young and it's way too much fun! One of the people that definitely inspired me to pursue adventure in my life is Will Steger, the leader of our team. I've known Will since I was 12, and his stories from trips he'd done always seemed so cool. Now I get to go on a trip with him and it's a dream come true! I feel very lucky.
Why do you think it is important to study other cultures?
Because there is a lot that you can gain from observing how other people live. Also, it is interesting to see how, as you learn more and more about another culture, you realize that you have many things in common with people who seemed so different at first. I lived in Paris with a French host family for a year during college, and it was one of the best experiences of my life.
What do you like best about being on an expedition? What do you like the least?
My favorite part is how simple life becomes. Distractions and unnecessary elements are removed and only that which is essential remains. You appreciate things that you may have otherwise taken for granted, like food, shelter, and your surroundings. My least favorite part is having to get going in the morning when it is so warm inside the sleeping bag and so cold outside. It always takes me a while to work up the courage to open the zipper and get the day started.
Give an example of one funny or strange thing that happened to you on a previous expedition.
Once I brought a bottle of intense mint-scented soap on a long backpacking trek and on the third or fourth day it exploded in my pack. I tried to wash it off of my stuff but it was no use. For the rest of the trip all of my clothes reeked of mint, and I had to endure the jokes of my friends.
What do you like about the arctic?
The arctic is such a vast region; everything seems to be on a larger scale. When you are traveling there you feel very small, and I think it's healthy to be put into perspective by nature every so often. It is a very humbling experience.
What do you like about working with the project and your group prior to departure?
It has been so cool to visit schools and see how excited the students are to hear about our upcoming adventure, see slides from past trips, and meet the dogs. Thinking of those kids following along with us will definitely help to keep my energy level up during the trip.
What do you hope students participating in Arctic Transect 2004 will learn?
I hope that they will come away from the experience feeling a sense of connection with the region and people of Nunavut. Hopefully students will also realize that their actions, no matter where they live, affect Nunavut, and will look to reduce the environmental impact of their everyday lives, not because they have to, or even because they should, but because they want to.
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