The United States Mint, the U.S. National Forest Service, and Puerto Ricans officially celebrated the release of the El Yunque National Forest Quarter on March 14.
The reverse design of the first new quarter of 2012 depicts the Puerto Rican parrot, a highly endangered species unique to Puerto Rico, and a classic Coqui tree frog among tropical flora. Inscriptions are EL YUNQUE, PUERTO RICO, 2012 and E PLURIBUS UNUM. Gary Whitley was the coin’s designer, and Michael Gaudioso engraved it.
Representing the US Mint was Treasurer of the United States, Rosie Rios. She shared the spotlight with El Yunque National Forest Supervisor Pablo Cruz and Channel 6 TV Producer Maria Falcon, who served as Master of Ceremonies.
During the presentation, Treasurer Rios said, "El Yunque National Forest is a perfect selection for the America the Beautiful Quarters Program. 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 ceremony took place at the El Portal Rain Forest Visitor Center, which is El Yunque Forest’s main visitor’s center and is near Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. Other dignitaries attending included Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi and Secretary of State Kenneth McClintock. Following the event, celebrators exchanged cash for rolls of the El Yunque Forest Coin.
The quarter is the eleventh in the US Mint’s America the Beautiful Quarters® Program. It was released into public circulation on January 23, 2012 via the Federal Reserve Banking System, and eleven days later, the US Mint began their sales of the collectible bags and rolls containing the El Yunque National Forest Quarter.
Acquiring the new quarter has been made easier, since it is offered in a variety of US Mint products. Below is a list.
- 2012 America the Beautiful Quarters Silver Proof Set™ (January 10, 2012)
- 2012 America the Beautiful Quarters Proof Set™ (January 17, 2012)
- 2012 El Yunque National Forest Quarter Two-Roll Set (February 3, 2012)
- 2012 El Yunque National Forest Quarter 100-Coin Bag, Philadelphia (February 3, 2012)
- 2012 El Yunque National Forest Quarter 100-Coin Bag, Denver (February 3, 2012)
- 2012 America the Beautiful Quarters Three-Coin Set™ – El Yunque (February 7, 2012)
- 2012 America the Beautiful Quarters Uncirculated Coin Set™ (April/May)
- 2012 America the Beautiful Quarters Circulating Coin Set (TBD)
- 2012 US Mint Uncirculated Coin Set® (TBD)
- 2012 US Mint Silver Proof Set™ (TBD)
- 2012 US Mint Proof Set® (TBD)
- El Yunque 5 oz Silver Uncirculated Coin (TBD)
El Yunque National Forest hosts more than one million visitors per year. Many are local islanders and cruise ship passengers from around the world. Tours of the U.S. National Forest system’s only rainforest can be taken by foot or by car via the numerous trails and roads. Visitors can do self-tours or take a guided tour, while groups can rent a Ranger.