Category Archives: Inspiring Connections Outdoors (ICO)

February 5th Inning: Outdoor Adventure Club and Miami Group committee reports

February 5th, 2018 INNINGS 7pm at Scouting Achievement Center, 10078 Reading Road, Evendale, Oh 45241

“Overview and Updates on the Outdoor Adventure Club and Various Committees of the Miami Group.”

Outdoor Adventure Club; by Denny McFadden
Denny plans to talk about the origin of OAC, its mission, vision, growth, number of kids served, and plans to partner with the Sierra Club ICO.
(Denny McFadden; Founder/Executive Director; Retired CPS Teacher)

The Miami Group ICO (Inspiring Connections Outdoors) will also have an update on their programs, including current work at the Academy of World Languages. given by Lara Guttadauro.

Update on the Outings program and numerous outings events. Jay Freeman, Chair, Outings Committee; Excellent outings leader,
(hiking, backpacking, biking groups.)

Update on Plastic Bag Pollution and SB210 which will forbid municipalities from placing a fee.
Marie Kocoshis, Happenings Team.

Miami Groups’s ICO Seeks New Partners & Leadership

ICO (Inspiring Connections Outdoors) has been active in greater Cincinnati for over 20 years. During this time we have partnered with numerous organizations to teach kids to love the earth through educational and fun outings. Our current relationship with Dater Montessori is at a crossroads and we are looking for a new organization to partner with.

ICO Kids spell "ICO"
ICO Kids spell “ICO”

More importantly, we are looking for someone who wants to share their love of the outdoors with the children of this new organization as a liaison and leader. ICO received a generous bequest from Joan Friedland several years ago. We currently have the funding to support some great outings but lack the volunteer manpower to make future outings possible. If you know of a school or community organization that might be interested in partnering with us, please contact Roberta Shawhan at 812-204-7021 or [email protected]

Community Action Network Meeting – Sept. 23, 2015 – Montgomery County Democratic Party HQ


Arlinda Vaughn, Director of Community Action Network along with Scott Bushbaum, Sierra Club Executive Committee Chairperson want to invite you to a meeting to discuss environmental issues in Dayton and Montgomery County on September 23.

The meeting is held at Montgomery County Democratic County Headquarters on 9/23/15 at 7:30 P.M. The organization hosting the meeting is the Community Action Network.

The address for the Montgomery County Headquarters is located at 131 S. Wilkinson St. Dayton OH 45402.

The Sierra Club will table the event and volunteers are encouraged to participate!

The cut and paste link to the CAN events website is below:

Scott Bushbaum – Sierra Club Miami Group Executive Committee

1913 to 2013 in 13 Miles: Brian Lenihan’s look at Hamilton’s Great Flood

 Cover Page
Imagine your town, at the tail end of a gloomy, rainy winter. The ground at your feet has thawed, but absorbs very little of the  excess water when it suddenly begins to rain again. Very hard. The river swells at an alarming rate. But there’s no siren, no flood warning on the news, and your Twitter feed is silent. It’s 1913, in Hamilton, OH.


In late March of that year over 9.5 inches of rain fell on Hamilton in less than 5 days. The recent rainfall in Greater Cincinnati that many have found so shocking (10.5 inches in thirty days) pales in comparison. All four bridges over the Great Miami were destroyed in just two hours. On March 26th the river reached 34 ft, and 80% of the city was submerged. If you were lucky enough to escape simply drowning you would have threat of disease and supply shortages to contend with. Railroads were impassable, roads turned to mud. Over 200 people lost their lives and thousands more their homes.


And yet Hamilton survived, its people endured. A new book by Miami Group Member Brian Lenihan examines this perseverance, in a very unique way. Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with the author. His interest in the 1913 flood started early on with the stories and photos shared by his grandmother, one of these dauntless survivors of the days of the flood. Recently, as the centennial of the flood approached, he began building a collection of photographs – and recreating them! Each photo in 1913-2013 in 13 Miles is one of a pair; one taken in 1913 and the other in 2013, at the same location.


The book is a treasure trove of 360 such photographs in all, assembled over the past two years. Each of its six chapters examines one of the Hamilton neighborhoods affected by the flood along a 13 mile route. On some streets Downtown and in the North End, water levels rose as high as ten feet. It was the most destructive disaster in Ohio History. Seeing the photos is a startling reminder that surroundings we take for granted can change drastically in just a few hours.


I couldn’t help asking if we might see another deluge sometime in the future. Brian tells me that in the decades after the flood, there was a lot of construction work along the riverbanks; a new dam was built, as well as new levees, and the river itself was widened to increase its capacity for runoff. Fortunately, these changes mean we’re unlikely to see a flood on the scale of the 1913 flood anytime soon. The banks could now withstand several times the amount of rain that fell back then. If there was a flood, many lives might be saved simply by the advances that have been made in disaster warning and communications equipment. Still, after seeing all the bizarre weather so far here in 2015, for once I’m glad I live on a hill. Just in case.


Lovers of history, photography, and/or Hamilton can pick up a copy of the new book at Micropressbooks.
Brian Lenihan, Author, Historian, Photographer
Brian Lenihan, Author: 1913 to 2013 in 13 Miles


Inspiring Connections Outdoors (ICO)

Inspiring Connections Outdoors (ICO)

by Lara Guttadauro

Many associate ICO as the acronym for “Inner City Outings,” but in 2014 this national program name was changed to “Inspiring Connections Outdoors.” There were two reasons for the change; first, because of the negative connotations of the words “inner city,” and second, because “inner city” did not represent the geographic areas the program serves, which also include rural and suburban neighborhoods.

Started in 1971, ICO is a community outreach program of the Sierra Club, with over 40 groups nationwide. The volunteer leaders, trained in recreational, outdoor and safety skills as well as environmental education provide outdoor adventures for children who wouldn’t otherwise have them – including low-income youth of diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

To introduce children to the outdoors, ICO volunteers work with community agencies that want to provide an outings program for their members. The Cincinnati ICO is currently working with Dater Montessori, Newport Primary and Big Brothers/Big Sisters. ICO furnishes the equipment needed: daypacks, water bottles, food, cooking gear, sleeping bags, and first aid kits. The outings are free of charge.

Our group’s outings are primarily day outings, many are to various Hamilton County Parks, including paddle boating, bicycling, hiking, etc. Many include some type of talk on various outdoor areas of interest, such as raptors, orienteering, animal tracking, farming, etc. Once a year we tent camp overnight, and another time “camp” in cabins. Regarding recent outings, our January outing was our annual snow-tubing outing to Perfect North Slopes. Our December outing was ice-skating on Fountain Square. Another recent outing was a visit to an apple orchard in the Dayton Ohio area.

Through ICO, participants are introduced to the outdoors, the Sierra Club and its values. ICO participants discover the beauty of the wild lands we treasure, and how to enjoy these areas without harming them. They develop interpersonal skills and self-esteem through active involvement with nature. Fostering teamwork and cooperation are also major aspects of the ICO experience. And participants learn outdoor skills that enable them to face challenges outside their home environments.

Our March outing is on Saturday the 14th. This outing is unusual in that it is an evening outing; it will be at LaBoiteaux Woods, a Cincinnati park in College Hill. The focus will be a night hike to learn about nocturnal animals. The April outing is on Saturday the 25th; we will hike through Mt. Airy Forest and take water samples to understand water quality and water pollution. We are opening these outings to families of Sierra Club members; members may bring their children / grandchildren. There is more information on these outings in the Outings section of this newsletter.

Get involved! We need volunteers; while helping with the kids, volunteers have a lot of fun and learn a lot too.

For more information on how you can support or participate, contact:

Lara Guttadauro 859-380-2062(C) or

Bobbie Shawhan 513-808-5564(H), 812-204-7921(C) or

Larry Benken 513- 662-4545 (H) or 513-662-3355 (W).