Head Outside to Embrace National Great Outdoors Month

National Great Outdoors Month is celebrated each year in June.  National Great Outdoors Month aims to encourage people to get outside and contribute to the preservation of natural spaces.  The month-long celebration inspires people to enjoy the world we live in by exercising, volunteering, or just enjoying nature.  During National Great Outdoors Month, we celebrate our nation’s vast array of parks, wildlife sanctuaries, waters, conservation lands, and other natural treasures.  Americans across the country draw inspiration and pride from the beauty of our stunning outdoor spaces, and connect our rich history with a vibrant future through nature.

National Great Outdoors Month first began as a Great Outdoors Week under President Clinton in 1998.  The main aim was to increase jobs and gross domestic product (GDP) by getting people to enjoy and appreciate nature.  Great Outdoors Week  grew to become so popular that for the next few decades and multiple presidential administrations since, the week was expanded to the entire month of June.

In 2016, the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act was enacted, requiring the Department of Commerce and the Bureau of Economic Analysis  to conduct an assessment and analysis of the outdoor recreation economy of the U.S.  The report found that outdoor recreation had contributed more than $412 billion to the economy-2.2% of the total GDP.  Moreover, the report portrayed that, in 2016, outdoor recreation had the fastest growth of any industry and led to the creation of 4.5 million jobs.  These numbers are some of the clearest depictions of the profound impact of nature on our behavior.  National Great Outdoors Month, which encourages us to rededicate ourselves to a healthy, active lifestyle by experiencing the natural wonders of our nation, brings not only health benefits but social and economic benefits as well.

If you love national parks, then it’s important you realize Grinnell Bird Grinnell (1849-1938), who is interred at Woodlawn Cemetery, was an early supporter.  The anthropologist, historian, and naturalist was a powerful force in shaping the late 19th century conservation movement and championed the creation of natural parks, bringing the state of our nation’s lands, waters, and wildlife to the American public through his writings.  In 1886, Grinnell founded the Audobon Society of New York-precursor to the National Audubon Society-the longest-lived organization dedicated to the protection of wild birds and their eggs.  Grinnell Glacier in the heart of Montana’s Glacier Park was named after the leading conservationist who advocated for the preservation of America’s natural wonders.

Woodlawn Cemetery, is an urban oasis that attracts 100,000 visitors every year from all over the world.  A sanctuary for 6,000 trees, such as the Japanese umbrella pine and a weeping beech, our sprawling grounds are a veritable open-air museum coalesced in a stunning park-like setting.  With its paths, gentle hills, serene lake and towering trees, our cemetery mixes the natural delights of an arboretum with a nondenominational burial ground.  We encourage you to enjoy the natural beauty of Woodlawn Cemetery.