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 52 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 week 1 day ago
Our National Parks are turning 100, and they’re starting to look a little grey. Fifty-four is not just the age of President Obama, it’s also the average age of a visitor to Yellowstone National Park. America’s parks and public lands belong to all of us, but we’re not all enjoying them. As we look...
4 weeks 1 day ago
“As a veteran who has struggled with finding employment in the past, guide school at NOC was the perfect way to expand my resume and get experience in the outdoor sector.” -- Rebekah HavrillaLast Friday, a group of veterans travelled to Bryson City, NC to participate in Nantahala Outdoor Center’s [...
1 month 5 days ago
Debra Asher and her husband, John, on the Brooklyn Bridge, New York CityDebra Asher, among the Sierra Club's longest-serving staffers and manager of the Inspiring Connections Outdoors (ICO) program for 28 years, retired in mid-March. The Planet sat down to talk with her a few weeks before she hung...