The Hispanic PR Wire reports that the United States Mint will honor El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico through its new quarter-dollar coin program. The El Yunque forest’s design will be the eleventh to be featured on coins released under the United States Mint America the Beautiful Quarters Program, and will be issued in 2012. “The America the Beautiful series demonstrates our nation’s commitment to the legacy of conservation while celebrating its natural beauty,” says Treasurer of the United States Rosie Rios.
Formerly known as the Caribbean National Forest, the El Yunque National Forest falls under the jurisdiction of the U.S. National Forest System because of Puerto Rico´s status as a commonwealth territory. It is considered the sole tropical rain forest in the U.S. National Forest System. “Despite the forest’s relatively small 28,000-acre size, it is significant for its immense biodiversity and its year-round tropical climate. More than 600,000 visitors from all over the world visit the forest each year to sample the rain-forest’s eco-tourism pleasures while developing a greater understanding of its ecological importance by walking the many beautiful trails. It was established as a national site in 1903.” The flora of El Yunque includes over 1,000 plant species. There are over 240 species of native trees, of which 88 are rare and 23 are found only in this forest. There are 50 species of native orchids and over 150 species of ferns, including giant tree ferns that grow to heights of over 40 feet. The rich fauna of El Yunque includes an enormous variety of insects, lizards, frogs, and birds, including the endangered Puerto Rican parrot.
The United States Mint America the Beautiful Quarters Program is a multi-year initiative began in 2008. The United States Mint issues 56 circulating quarter-dollar coins with reverse (tails side) designs emblematic of a national park or other national site in each state, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories— Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands.
[Many thanks to David Labiosa for bringing this item to our attention.]
For full article, see http://www.hispanicprwire.com/news.php?l=in&id=15170&cha=14
For photo featured here and others by Elena, see http://www.elyunque.com/about.html