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Our Outreach Committee develops partnerships to bring the benefits of nature, trails, and outdoor recreation to our entire community.  Below are brief introductions to CTC’s outreach programs.  If you are interested in learning more, or becoming involved, please email

Partnerships with the Greater Ithaca Activities Center (GIAC)

Outdoor Adventures for GIAC Summer Camps

Since 2021, CTC has developed a partnership to bring our club’s experience with trails and nature to the diverse community served by GIAC.  Our largest program is Outdoor Adventures for GIAC summer campers.  Outings include canoeing at Beebe Lake and kayaking at Myers Park, exploring stream life at Mulholland Wildflower Preserve, swimming at Taughannock State Park, hiking the gorge at Treman State Park, enjoying forests at the Thayer Preserve, climbing the Tree House at the Cayuga Nature Center, learning about water sampling at Salt Point, nature drawing at Bock Harvey Forest Preserve, and more!  

In addition to the CTC members and wonderful GIAC staff, including a seasonal Program Coordinator, Outdoor Adventures are made possible by the creative, enthusiastic adventures offered by many nature/outdoors oriented organizations that CTC involves in this program:

Cayuga Nature Center; Friends of Salt Point; Cornell Outdoor Education; Finger Lakes Land Trust; Community Science Institute (CSI); Cornell Campus Club; Museum of the Earth; Cornell Botanic Gardens Natural Areas; NY State Parks – Environmental Education; Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology

Essential funding for Outdoors Adventures is provided by the Finger Lakes Land Trust, the Lane Family Fund of the Community Foundation of Tompkins County, and the Helen T. Howland Foundation administered by the Community Foundation of Tompkins County.  We are very grateful to all the organizations and funders who make this program possible.


GIAC Seniors (age 60+) Nature Hikes

Building community and connections is what the GIAC Seniors program is all about.  Since 2020, CTC has partnered with GIAC to add monthly nature hikes to the group’s activities.  These nature walks, generally a leisurely 2-3 miles long, have been guided by CTC members, as well as naturalists and historians from other organizations.


Winter Outdoor Adventures for GIAC

GIAC youth and seniors are interested in enjoying winter snowshoe outings.  A grant application to the Vision Cares program of the Visions Federal Credit Union provided funding to purchase 12 pairs of snowshoes.  These are available for GIAC youth in the after-school and winter programs, GIAC Seniors’ nature hikes, and CTC winter hikes. 

TCAT to Trails Project

Connecting people to trails and nature is what our club is all about!  Increasing equitability, inclusiveness, and environmental sustainability of that connection has been the focus of the TCAT to Trails project.

In fall 2020, TCAT to Trails began with CTC and Cornell Outings Club volunteers mapping trailheads that were accessible from TCAT bus routes.  The project ramped up from there: we developed an enthusiastic partnership with TCAT, were assisted by a Cornell Design Connect student team, and worked with the Tompkins County Planning Office and Ithaca/Tompkins Convention and Visitors Bureau, which hosts  Below are the accomplishments of TCAT to Trails to date.

TCAT to Trails Map and Webpage

Yes, there is now a map that shows you how to get to trails, natural areas, and parks via our local bus system!  The Cornell Design Connect team completed a first draft, and their project co-managers – Qunn Kelly and Emile Bensedrine – completed the final design.  The Map is available on buses, outdoors stores, college campuses, visitors’ centers, and online!  Working with CTC, TCAT created a dedicated webpage where bus riders can find trails, parks and nature preserves to explore, with links to more information on

Improved bus connections to trails

CTC members and the Design Connect team analyzed bus stops and routes and made recommendations to TCAT about ways to improve connections to trails.  TCAT added four additional bus stops and changed the summer service to provide more connections to local parks.

Showing bus access to trails on

The website is the best resource for discovering and exploring all the trails in Tompkins County.  However, prior to our TCAT to Trails project, it did not show which are reachable by TCAT bus service.  Working with Tompkins County Planning Office and staff at the Ithaca/Tompkins Convention and Visitors Bureau (which hosts, and the bus route/trailhead connections we mapped, CTC members created the necessary files to connect that information to the GIS shapefiles used on IthacaTrails.  Funding for the website developer’s work was provided by the CTC and a grant from the Helen T. Howland Foundation and the Community Foundation of Tompkins County.