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Discovering Block Island: The Island Gets Its Own Quarter!

by Will / August, 9 2017 01:30

Block Island quarter layered over Mohegan Bluffs

The Nature Conservancy calls Block Island “one of the last 12 great places in the Western Hemisphere.” With 17 miles of gorgeous beach – be sure to bring your sunscreen - and almost half the island protected for wildlife, Block Island goes to great lengths to guard its beautiful environment. It’s no wonder the United States Mint decided to make the Block Island National Wildlife Refuge part of their America the Beautiful Quarters Program.

America the Beautiful Quarters Program

In 2010 the US Mint launched a program called America the Beautiful Quarters to showcase our country’s great national parks and sites. It’s a 12-year initiative to issue 56 quarters depicting these areas.

Every year five quarters are released sequentially – based on when the sites were established as national parks.

Check out the US Mint site to see if one of your favorite parks made the list!

The Block Island Quarter

2018 will be the Block Island quarter’s debut. In the meantime the design for the quarter was recently released.

The coin features a black-crowned night-heron flying over a view of the beach at Cow Cove looking towards Sandy Point. The North Light lighthouse is seen in the background surrounded by the Block Island National Wildlife Refuge.

According to The Nature Conservancy

I think the quarter design is a great mix of how people and nature have to coexist [on the island]..So, the fact that it honors the Refuge and the ecosystem, the critters who live there, and the necessary place that we humans hold as partners in conservation, and rescuers and protectors (as depicted by the North Light) of people as part of nature, is a symbol that Block Island can be proud to embrace.

I completely agree with The Nature Conservancy – that’s the beauty of Block Island – the harmony that exists between the native islanders, the tourists and the environment. Everyone respects each other.

A Little History on the Block Island Wildlife Refuge

In 1829 the US government bought 28 acres of land at the north end of Block Island from the Town of New Shoreham. The government wanted to establish a lighthouse that would warn ships away from the sandbar extending northward from Sandy Point. Hence, the North Light lighthouse was born.

Then in the 1970s the lighthouse and the land surrounding it transferred to the US Fish and Wildlife Service . In turn they created the Block Island National Wildlife Refuge to protect migrating birds. Each year over 70 species of songbirds migrate to Block Island.

Finally in 1983 The Town of New Shoreham (this is the actual name of the town on Block Island) purchased the lighthouse and two acres surrounding it for one dollar!

Today the refuge is four times the orginal size at 127 acres. It’s definitely a must see if you visit Block Island. It’s easy too, just drive – or ride your bike - out to the end of Corn Neck Road and you can walk along the beach from their to the North Light.

Discover More about Block Island

Thirsting for even more about Block Island? Check out our Discovering Block Island series and learn about all the adventures, beaches and tastes the island has to offer.

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