The Shawnee National Forest is one of few places in Illinois where you will find large open spaces to explore and be immersed in nature. One of its special places is the Garden of the Gods Recreation Area. Each year several hundred thousand visitors are drawn to the strange and beautiful rock formations found at Garden of the Gods. One of the most famous formations is Camel Rock.
This special place was recently celebrated through the launch of the latest America the Beautiful Quarter, featuring the Shawnee’s unique Camel Rock formation. More than 1,300 people came out to celebrate; forever placing the beauty of the Shawnee into pocket change.
Guest speakers included Tom Tidwell, Chief of the Forest Service; Ben Barnes, Second Chief of the Shawnee Tribe; and George Blanchard, Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma. The leaders shared childhood memories of their fascination with coins and the wonderment they felt when discovering a coin’s significance.
The launch ceremony presented an awesome opportunity to teach more than 500 school children about rich treasures found in national forests and parks, and inspire them to go out and explore these wonderful places. To cap off an exciting experience, every kid under 18 got to take home a quarter that has so much significant to their state.
For others who come across the “Camel Quarter,” perhaps it inspires them to visit the scenic Shawnee Hills for a glimpse of the real thing. As you walk the winding trails between the colorful rocks you’ll be fascinated that such natural beauty is found within Illinois. The Shawnee looks forward to your visit!
The Shawnee quarter is the 31st coin to be released in the U.S. Mint’s America the Beautiful Quarter series, and the last of only five national forests to be featured.
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I am a youth minister and would love to bring some kids to see all of God"s creation.