Jon Turk

In 2011, Jon Turk, then 65, and Erik Boomer, 26, circumnavigated Ellesmere Island, a 1,500-mile trip that earned the duo a nomination for Adventurer of the Year from National Geographic. According to Turk in a New York Times article about the expedition: “Something [Erik and I] bonded on was that we’re both pretty rare characters to commit to doing something like this with a complete stranger.” Turk’s rare character led him from college at Brown to such accomplishments as a 3,000-mile kayak passage from Japan to Alaska, an unsupported crossing of the western Gobi of Mongolia on a mountain bike and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Colorado. As a wandering author, he’s published three books in addition to co-authoring the first textbook on environmental science in the United States in 1971.