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Connect with Nature – Explore Our National Parks

POSTED UNDER Energy & Conservation

This Earth Week, we’re celebrating how we connect with nature and all the positive ways we enjoy it. You might even be surprised by all the benefits it offers: Spending time in nature reduces stress, boosts our immune systems, improves mood, increases our ability to focus (even in children with ADHD), increases energy, improves sleep – and can even help us recover more quickly from injury or illness, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Opportunities to connect with nature are all around us, from the urban oasis of city parks and rooftop gardens (like the one at Macy’s, Inc.’s Cincinnati headquarters) to our own backyard retreats to our incredible network of national parks, which contain some of the most magnificent views and spaces in the world. From Acadia National Park on Maine’s Mount Desert Island to South Dakota’s Badlands to Haleakalā National Park in Hawaii, our national parks offer an incredible range of opportunities to connect with nature, regardless of your interests, location, or physical capability.

Designed to preserve America’s most magnificent and meaningful places for public recreation and appreciation, the foundation for our national parks was signed into existence by President Abraham Lincoln in 1864 with the Yosemite Grant. In 1872, Yellowstone National Park was established, and in 1890, Yosemite National Park followed. The National Parks System continued to grow, and by 1916 there were so many that the National Park Service was created to manage and oversee them.

Today, there are a total of 417 national parks spanning more than 84 million acres in each state and extending into the territories with parks in Puerto Rico, The Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam, according to the National Park Foundation (NPF). And that means your nearest national park may be closer than you think (you can find out with NPF’s national park locator or on

With the school year-end on the horizon, summer vacation planning is gearing up and it’s a great time to think about exploring one of our national treasures. Whether you’re more interested in hiking, biking, camping and swimming or prefer a more urban getaway, our national parks offer great options, budget-friendly trips and activities and creative ideas to spark your connection with nature in a whole new way. Need some ideas? The National Park Foundation offers those, as well.

There are a lot of ways to connect with nature, and however you do it, we hope you’ll take some time during Earth Week (and beyond) to experience that connection and all it can do for you.

Have a great experience with one of our national parks? Tell us about it, and you could be featured in an upcoming associate spotlight on Macy’s Green Living!

We’re supporting our National Parks through our 2017 Connect with Nature Artwork Contest – the winning design will be featured on a reusable tote bag that will be sold in select Macy’s stores – and two dollars from the sale of each tote bag will benefit the National Park Foundation! Vote for your favorite design during Earth Week 2017 (and after the contest is over, you’ll still be able to explore the art gallery)!


You might also like:

Meet Our Plant Your Pictures Contest Winners

Macy’s Corporate Headquarters Gets New Green Roof

Heart Your Park Impacts Parks All Over America

2016 Earth Week Recap


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