Young Explorers Plan Cross-Country Trip In An Ice Cream Truck To Inspire Conservation

National Geographic Young Explorers who created The Ice Cream Expedition project. L-R: Jordan Fatke, Cameron Kruse, Caleb Kruse.
National Geographic Young Explorers who created The Ice Cream Expedition project. L-R: Jordan Fatke, Cameron Kruse, Caleb Kruse. –Courtesy Jordan Fatke, Cameron Kruse, Caleb Kruse

Free ice cream and trying to save the planet?

What more could you want?

Starting on July 17, three recent college graduates will be traveling cross country in a biodiesel ice cream truck, giving kids free ice cream and encouraging them to take a conservation pledge.

The project is called The Ice Cream Expedition. Caleb Kruse, Cameron Kruse and Jordan Fatke had a very specific reason for choosing an ice cream truck as their vehicle.

“How best to connect with the next generation of explorers – an ice cream truck. Growing up we would literally sprint blocks to catch an ice cream truck. We’ll be giving away all-natural ice cream to start our conversation with children around America. We approached National Geographic and National Geographic Kids with this idea and it was met with enthusiasm. We were awarded a National Geographic Young Explorer grant. We have been working hand in hand with National Geographic and National Geographic Kids to design the trip and working through the logistics of putting on large events in major cities along the way.’’

They plan to visit 33 states in their truck, which will run off of vegetable oil. They’ll also film a documentary from children’s perspective.

As of now, they have an outline of what cities they will hit and what date. They expect to be in Boston at the end of September as their second to last stop.


“I’ve always wanted to drive across the country, and a friend once jokingly suggested I do it in an ice cream truck, and the idea took hold,’’ Caleb said. “The ice cream truck holds a unique position in a community and can be used as a platform to start talking to people, especially kids — and that’s who we’re trying to inspire.’’

They will stop at parks, museums, aquariums and other venues, giving out scoops of ice cream donated by Ramar Foods, while also encouraging kids to sign a conservation pledge.

The three are being backed by a National Geographic Young Explorers Grant and a partnership with National Geographic Kids. They also raised over $18,000 on Kickstarter for additional expenses.

You can follow them on their journey through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and their blog, using the hashtag #icecreamexpedition.

Also, check out their Ice Cream Expedition website especially for kids.

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