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Coin of the Month

Grand Canyon National Park Quarter

I picked the Grand Canyon National Park quarter as this month's coin just because the Grand Canyon is big...like me! Actually, it's bigger than I am. It's so big that you can see it from space! ...If you happen to be IN space, that is.

But what I also like about the Grand Canyon is that it's just as interesting when you look at it up close. The canyon is home to thousands of kinds of plants, hundreds of birds, and dozens of animals.

One animal I think is one of the coolest is the pack rat. These little rodents roam around their neighborhood looking for odds and ends they can use in building their nests, called "middens." If they're carrying something back to the midden and they run across something better, they'll drop the first thing and carry off the second. They say that many a miner woke up to find his pocket watch replaced with a pine cone!

Archeologists like pack rats too. Know why? Because their middens, which can last for many pack-rat generations, can be a treasure trove of trinkets that would have been lost forever if they hadn't been preserved in the nest. Human artifacts tell of man's presence and bits of plants tell about the climate in bygone days.

People have lived in the canyon for thousands of years. If you look closely at this quarter, you'll see little holes in the steep walls on the right side. Those are doorways to shallow caves. You can find out what the caves were used for on the Grand Canyon National Park quarter page.

—Bill

Bill, the Mint Buffalo

Teacher Feature

Image shows the back of the Grand Canyon quarter.
Reverse:  A view of Marble Canyon is shown beside a vertical cliff.

Image shows the front of the quarter-dollar coin.
Obverse:  George Washington's profile is surrounded by the inscriptions "United States of America," "Liberty," "In God We Trust," a mint mark, and "Quarter Dollar."



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