Today, March 14, 2012 the United States Mint and the U.S. National Forest System hosted a public launch ceremony for the El Yunque National Forest Quarter.
Treasurer of the United States, Rosie Rios, spoke during ceremony that was held at the El Portal Rain Forest Visitor Center, inside the national forest located in Puerto Rico.
"El Yunque National Forest is a perfect selection for the America the Beautiful Quarters Program," said Treasurer Rios. "As Americans use this new quarter, they will connect to the stories of the endangered Puerto Rican parrot, the magnificent effort you are making to rescue this beautiful bird from extinction, and the biodiverse national treasure that is its home — El Yunque National Forest."
The reverse of the El Yunque quarter depicts a Puerto Rican parrot and a Coqui tree frog nestled among native tropical flora. Inscriptions are EL YUNQUE, PUERTO RICO, 2012 and E PLURIBUS UNUM. It was designed by Gary Whitley and engraved by Michael Gaudioso.
Also speaking at the ceremony were El Yunque National Forest Supervisor Pablo Cruz and Channel 6 TV Producer Maria Falcon, who served as master of ceremonies. Other key attendees celebrating the quarter’s official launch included Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi and Puerto Rico’s Secretary of State Kenneth McClintock.
Upon the conclusion of the ceremony, members of the crowd participated in a coin exchange and traded their cash for $10 rolls of the El Yunque National Forest Quarter at face value.
The 2012 El Yunque quarter is the 11th in the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program, which honors national sites throughout the U.S. and its territories between the years 2010 and 2021. It was actually released into circulation on January 23, 2012 with bags and rolls of the new quarters available from the US Mint on February 3, 2012.
Interested buyers can still order Two-Roll Sets, 100-Coin Bags, and the Three-Coin Set of the El Yunque National Forest Quarter online at http://www.usmint.gov/catalog or by calling 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468). A $4.95 shipping and handling charge is added to all domestic orders.
Other products containing the quarter honoring Puerto Rico include the 2012 America the Beautiful Quarters Proof Set and the 2012 America the Beautiful Quarters Silver Proof Set. More annual sets will be released later this year.
El Yunque National Forest was formerly known as the Caribbean National Forest and is still the only tropical rain forest in the U.S. National Forest System. The forest region was originally set aside by the King of Spain in 1876, making it one of the oldest reserves found in the Western Hemisphere, and it entered the U.S. government’s domain on January 17, 1903 when it was declared a forest reserve by President Theodore Roosevelt.
Today the forest takes up 28,000 acres and can be explored via its many trails and roads. Its year-round tropical climate and immense biodiversity draws over one million visitors from all over the world each year.
For information on other releases this year, check out the 2012 national park quarters page.