Inspiring Connections Outdoors

ICO: Inspiring Connections Outdoors

Program Goals

  • Actively engage people in the outdoors through outdoor activities, including backpacking, car camping, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, rafting, service projects, skating, skiing, sledding, etc
  • Promote appreciation and protection of the natural environment through outdoor adventures and environmental education;
  • Create opportunities through outdoor experiences for personal growth and life style change, outdoor skills and leadership development;
  • and foster respect of self, others, and the environment.

Our 53 volunteer-run ICO groups nationwide conduct more than 900 outings for approximately 14,000 participants each year. By introducing participants to the transformative power of nature, ICO serves a key function within the Sierra Club and supports John Muir's assertion that people who experience wilderness firsthand are much more likely to preserve it for future generations.

Find a group near you!


"[On my trip] we were restoring trails….and it was a huge accomplishment when we were done. I feel that this experience changed my life because now I am more interested in wilderness and want to preserve it. It is going to be up to my generation to preserve it for the future."
Check out his YouTube video about how Chicago ICO and National Outings trip experiences!
—Leopaldo Hernandez, Chicago participant, soon to be leader.


"Sharing the beauty of nature with someone for the first time and seeing the smile on their face is the best feeling. It really inspires me when young people from our participant groups become involved with ICO to help share their experiences with others and become amazing trip leaders."
Watch his video.
—Vinny Abeygunawardena, ICO Raft Guide and Leader
"I have not been on another field trip where the students keep talking about their experience so much, where they grow as people and leaders so visibly, and where they are authentically willing to share their experiences and educate others of what they saw and learned, from the beauty that is California. I am looking forward to going on my eighth hike this year with the Sierra Club and can’t imagine my school year without this amazing adventure."
—Mr. Kevin Hill, teacher at St. Raymond School in Downey, CA

From our Blog

1 month 2 hours ago
Nothing warms my heart more than seeing children explore nature. This week, I was honored to attend the launch event for the Every Kid in a Park initiative in New York City at Hamilton Grange National Memorial in Harlem. At the Grange, nearly 200 fourth-graders received passes for free entry to our...
1 month 1 week ago
 Over the past two summers we have successfully initiated a program of research to begin to test our hypotheses that 1) outdoors experience improves physical, mental, and social well-being and 2) the emotion of awe is an important mechanism driving these effects.  In this brief we summarize the...
1 month 2 weeks ago
St. Cajetan Catholic Church provided food, music, and media (Telemundo Denver!) for a Sierra Club Wild Colorado Extravaganza, September 9. Latino/a church-going youth and other Denver locals attended this delightfully extravagant house party hosted by Bryce Carter. Carter is an Organizing...
1 month 3 weeks ago
Oakland & the World Enterprises (OAW) is a nonprofit organization founded by former Black Panther leader Elaine Brown and Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, aimed at creating for-profit businesses owned and operated by former inmates. On about an acre of land at Seventh and Campbell...
2 months 2 weeks ago
Longtime Angeles Chapter outings leader Frances "Sparky" Sotcher is the recipient of the 2015 Madelyn Pyeatt Award, honoring a Sierra Club member who has made outstanding contributions through working with youth. Sotcher has been leading Sierra Club outings for 45 years, and has been an ICO (...