It’s not great timing, but this year, the U.S. Mint rolled out the first coin ever to feature a bat on it. The new quarter is honoring the National Park of American Samoa in Utulei, American Samoa. The quarter is the first release of 2020 and the 51st release of the “America the Beautiful Quarters Program”.
The National Park of American Samoa Quarter features a Samoan fruit bat mother hanging in a tree with her pup, evoking the remarkable care and energy that the species puts into their offspring. The design promotes awareness to the species’ threatened status due to habitat loss and commercial hunting. The National Park of American Samoa is the only park in the United States that is home to the Samoan fruit bat.
“This is the first time a bat has been featured on a U.S. coin,” said Medallic Artist Phebe Hemphill. “It’s a kind of a neat little texture on the skin on the wing itself, so it was a really fun sculpt to do, especially the eyes. I used some interesting sculpture techniques for the eyes. I had a lot of fun sculpting it.”
Located some 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, National Park of American Samoa is one of the most remote in the U.S. National Park System. The site includes sections of three volcanic islands: Tutuila, Ta’ū, and Ofu. The park’s area totals 13,500 acres, 4,000 of which are underwater. Almost all of the land area is tropical rainforest.