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December Coin of the Month

Everglades National Park Quarter

Allow me to present to you the Everglades National Park quarter.  I say it's totally appropriate that the quarter features two wild wading birds (anhinga and roseate spoonbill) so prominently.  That's because this park wasn't established to protect its scenery, like others of the first national parks, as much as to protect its ecosystem as a wildlife habitat.

Actually, the Everglades are made up of a huge network of ecosystems that depend on each other yet remain distinct.  The reason this ecosystem needs protection is that so many factors affect its health.

Natural forces that leave their mark on the landscape include geology, hydrology, air quality, water quality, fires, weather, and climate.  Human forces that also affect the delicate balance among these systems include the introduction of nonnative species, draining for land development, and pollution in the air, water, light, and sound.

Still, development is kept in check on park lands, which cover more than a million acres.  This vast park hosts a wide array of animals who thrive here, where northern temperate climates merge with tropical Caribbean climates.

If you want to know the best time to see wildlife in the park, I would recommend the winter dry season, which lasts from December to April.  This time is best because the weather is mild but the water levels are low.  The low water causes animals to seek out central watering spots, where you can wait for them to show up for a drink.

Locations like Shark Valley, the Anhinga Trail at Royal Palm, and Eco Pond in the Flamingo area are good places to see alligators, wading birds, and lots of other species (maybe even a manatee).  If you're a boater, there are even more places to see what the animals are up to in Florida Bay and along the Gulf Coast.

All in all, the plant and animal life in the Everglades—not to mention its status as a vast wetland unique in all the world—makes this site a national treasure well worth protecting for future generations.  Learn more on the Everglades National Park Quarter page.

—Inspector Collector 

Front of the quarter.
Obverse:  George Washington's profile is surrounded by the inscriptions "United States of America," "Liberty," "In God We Trust," and "Quarter Dollar."

Back of the Everglades National Park quarter.
Reverse:  An anhinga keeps a roseate spoonbill company in this design.

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