Inspiring Connections Outdoors (ICO)

Laughter and Learning

The Sierra Club Inspiring Connections Outdoors (ICO) program is a community outreach program which provides underserved youth the opportunity to explore, enjoy, and protect the natural world.  Through these outings, ICO promotes interpersonal skills and self-esteem by engaging participants in teamwork, teaching them self-reliance outside an urban setting.  As its participants discover the beauty of wild lands, ICO also helps the Club build support for environmental protection in North Florida.

Volunteer leaders, certified and specially trained in recreational, outdoor, and safety skills as well as environmental education conduct wilderness adventures for youth of diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. From backpacking trips to neighborhood cleanups to naturalist-led hikes through local greenbelts and preserves, ICO volunteers introduce all people to the natural world and teach them how important it is to protect and restore wild places.

The ICO program is made possible by our volunteers who give generously of their time and skills, and by donations of money and equipment made by our supporters. Outings are conducted at relatively low cost, but support from foundations and individuals is always needed.

The Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club is very proud to host one of these special groups – Gainesville ICO.  We take local kids on hikes, paddling on rivers, camping, and more. Thanks to ICO, these young participants discover plants and animals and a whole new world is opened to them. Would you like to volunteer or donate to this effort? 

Please contact Roberta Gastmeyer at or call 352-494-9662.