ICO - About




ICO’s Mission Statement

The Knoxville Inspiring Connections Outdoors is an outings program where volunteer leaders collaborate with community partners to get people outdoors, especially youth, who may not have access on their own to safely discover the wonders of the natural world. Through outdoor experiences, we promote appreciation and protection of the natural environment, provide opportunities for personal growth, and foster respect of self, others, and the environment. 

What We Do: 

  • Introduction to nature. We provide safe and fun nature outings and wilderness adventures for youth in east Tennessee. Most of the children on ICO outings have never been to local natural areas or the nearby mountains. They are thrilled to see deer, salamanders, butterflies, birds and other wildlife. They learn how Native Americans and early settlers lived and how they used native plants and fauna.

  • Education about nature and the environment. ICO leaders observe and talk about flora, fauna, habitats, the interconnections between species, and man’s impact on the environment.

  • Imagination and creativity. By walking along narrow trails in unfamiliar environments, paddling on rivers and lakes, sleeping in forests, children see the world in new ways.

  • Health. Participants are physically challenged by hiking, canoeing, disc golf, archery, geocaching, and other outdoor activities, thereby increasing their appreciation for a healthy life style.

  • Self-esteem. Navigating in wild areas using map and compass, completing long strenuous walks, identifying trees and wildlife, locating planets in the night sky, and more, participants accomplish things they never thought they could.

  • Fun! ICO leaders try to give everyone time to just have fun, explore, and soak in nature. 

Who We Are:


Mac Post, Chair

Alice Thornton, Volunteer Coordinator

Janet Bigelow, Education Coordinator


Outings Leaders

Janet Bigelow, Girls Inc. Liaison

Betsy Bohannon

Kris Christen

Hans Christen

Vince Cianciolo

Kristine Johnson

Barbara Hudak-Scheirer

Doris Gove

Jimmy Groton

David Ostermeier, Lonsdale Elementary Liaison

Mac Post, Amachi and Big Brothers & Big Sisters of East Tennessee Liaison

Paul Scheirer

Ron Shrieves

Alice Thornton

Jerry Thornton


Contact Us

You can e-mail us at



Or write to:

Mac Post, Knoxville ICO

3532 Cruze Road

Powell, TN 37849

=Knoxville Inspiring Connections Outdoors is a community outreach program that provides opportunities for urban youth and adults to explore, enjoy and protect the natural world.

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