Sierra Club Inner City Outings Washington DC
Sierra Club
Inner City Outings
Overview | Group Profile | Events
The Challenge
You already know the wonderment of frogs bobbing in ponds, hawks zooming over trees, and thousands of stars powdering a pure black sky.

But what if you were a child growing up in the city in a low-income family, with no access to the great outdoors beyond the sidewalks of your neighborhood? How would you find nature and learn to love it?

The Solution
Inner City Outings, a program of the Sierra Club Inner City Outings, provides wilderness adventures to people who wouldn't otherwise have them.

The program launched in 1971 in San Francisco, and now over 50 Club chapters throughout the nation carry the program. Learn more about ICO's Mission in the Washington DC area.

Get Involved!
We invite you to join the DC Club Chapter and be part of an amazing experience with nature and children From hiking and camping, to river cleanups and environmental education, Inner City Outings takes children on a variety of outings in the Washington, DC area.

All these adventures help kids better understand the natural world around them and how they can make a difference, while providing an opportunity for volunteers to share their values and compassion, and positively impact the life of a child.

One Satisfied Customer
By Deonte, Age 12
I like the Sierra Club trips, because they take us to a lot of fun places. A while ago they took us to Discovery Creek Children's Museum to see a lot of different animals. The volunteers are very nice and plan all of our trips like the Natural History Museum and the Arboretum where we learned about all different types of trees.

What is it like to go on a trip with Inner City Outings?
The groups take on everything from hiking to canoeing to horseback riding. On rainy days and in the coldest months, trips move inside to places with an environmental bent. The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, with its IMAX theater, makes a popular inside trip, and the National Botanical Gardens, the National Zoo, and an indoor ice-skating rink have been on this winter's agenda.

  • Volunteers and kids meet on Saturday mornings at 10am in the children's neighborhood
  • Group sizes vary depending on the number of volunteers and kids and the size of the community organization, but they can range from 10 to 25 children, with a volunteer-to-child ratio of 1-to-1 or 1-to-2.
  • Once the carpools are set, the groups head out for destinations that many of the children have never visited or perhaps even heard of.
  • At the destination, We make sandwiches such as peanut butter and jelly and cold cuts for lunch
Each trip carries surprises and new challenges for the children-and often the volunteers.

Camping trip to George Washington National Forest in Virginia There leaders took the kids on a night hike through the woods. The occasional screams from children afraid of the dark-or afraid of other children who were jumping out to scare them-were to be expected. The surprise came when everyone in the group lay down on their backs in a clearing to look at the sky. When the last flashlight went out, the kids grew silent, amazed at the masses of stars normally outshined by city lights.

At Skyline Caverns in Front Royal, Virginia we took the kids underground. For many of the children, it was their first time inside a cave. While stalactites, stalagmites, and white urchin-like formations covered the cave, it was the subterranean streams and pools that fascinated the children.

overnight camping trips Every year we plan an overnight trip with the children to explore nature, participate in activities and sing at the campfire. During a recent trip, Danielle Tinker who is a Naturalist-in-Training, observed how kids explore nature better than adults. Learn More

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