By Aidan Denison
Sierra Club’s Inspiring Connections Outdoors (ICO) is a community outreach program that provides opportunities for urban youth and adults to explore, enjoy and protect the natural world. This month we are featuring a series of profiles on the incredible volunteers who make Minnesota’s ICO program possible.
Greg Springer is a native Minnesotan and current resident of St. Paul. He joined the Sierra Club in 2013 and has been volunteering with Inspiring Connections Outdoors since last summer. Greg is an active volunteer and has worked as a Trip Leader and Treasurer for ICO, volunteered with the chapter’s annual Bike Tour and participated in trainings for outings leaders.
Greg feels fortunate to have had an active outdoor family growing up — the lessons he learned on those trips make him want that opportunity to be available to everyone, regardless of resources. Greg is also no stranger to our bountiful Minnesota forests. He finds himself grateful for our extensive foliage and loves a good trip to the BWCA or our other northern Minnesota destinations. When it comes to environmental issues, Greg finds sustainability in our food chain and energy grid most important. “We’re going to have to deal with a much more crowded Earth in the future and we’re going to need brilliant solutions to accommodate that growth.”
He enjoys the smiles and enthusiasm of the kids in the ICO programs and enjoys the bond that is formed when learning about the different backgrounds that both the youth and the adults contribute. Greg is fascinated by the individuality that every child shows; in his words, “youth . . . want a chance to converse with someone that respects their individuality and has the time to listen to them.You can’t help if you’re not willing to listen.”
Youth trips have taught him to be flexible with scheduling and planning; having a wide range of options to educate and entertain is best — in case your original plan doesn’t go over well. And you can always count on Greg for games in the back of his pocket!
Greg brings positivity, energy and a lot of background getting youth outside to his leadership in the Inspiring Connections Outdoors program, and we are fortunate to work with him.
Learn more about how you can get involved. We hope you can join us!