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Canadian pseudo-coin not well received

Started by Figleaf, January 07, 2011, 11:09:20 AM

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Parks Canada coin 'absolutely ridiculous,' critics say

OTTAWA — Canada's 2011 silver dollar commemorates the centennial of Parks Canada by showing endangered species — with one hiccup: Half the species on the coin aren't found in or near any parks.

The selection has puzzled some naturalists, who wonder why the coin doesn't show more of the hundreds of species that are truly protected by national parks.

The silver dollar, which will sell to collectors for $55.95, shows a group of four species: the whooping crane, western prairie fringed orchid, southern maidenhair fern and Kentucky coffee tree.

Two of these do occur in Canada's parks: The whooping crane in Wood Buffalo National Park — which stretches from northern Alberta into the Northwest Territories — and the Kentucky coffee tree in Pelee Island Park, about 60 kilometres southeast of Windsor, Ont.

But the southern maidenhair fern is found in only one place in Canada: The Fairmont Hot Springs resort in eastern British Columbia. Called "southern" for a reason, the delicate fern grows like a weed in the southwestern United States, where it's not endangered at all.

In B.C., it grows only along the run-off from the resort's hot spring, benefiting from the hot spot that biologists call a "microclimate." Otherwise, Canada is too chilly.

The orchid is globally rare. In Canada it is found only in a few wet areas of southeastern Manitoba — again, not near a national park.

Naturalist Dan Brunton did the 1980s field research that led to the fern's status as endangered.

It "seems a weird way to promote the importance of national parks, or to provide public confidence in their grasp of the science that is critical to their successful management and planning of the parks system and its dependent biodiversity," he said.

Royal Canadian Mint spokesman Alex Reeves said the Mint is aware that two of the pictured species don't come from parks. But he said that's not the point.

The coin is intended to recognize the parks' role in protecting endangered wildlife, and it doesn't matter where the individual examples come from, he said.

The official announcement says that for a century, "Parks Canada has remained the dedicated steward and steadfast guardian of Canada's vast stores of magnificent natural treasures."

But Reeves says it never specifically claims that the plants on the coin come from the parks.

Brunton still argues there are better choices.

"The reason we get excited about Canadian national parks is because they are a major way of expressing our part of our global conservation responsibility."

It's important that symbols of this be authentic, he says.

Michael Runtz, who teaches biology at Carleton University, also criticized the selection. "If we're celebrating national parks with species not found in those parks, I think it's absolutely ridiculous."

Source: Vancouver Sun

Photo caption: A new collector coin dedicated to celebrating the 100th anniversary of Parks Canada, which was announced by the Royal Canadian Mint on January 4, 2010.
Photograph by: Royal Canadian Mint, Photo Handout

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.


With such a piece, made only for collectors, we could argue that it does not really matter much what species are depicted. ;D  The design I do not find bad, but I agree it would have made more sense to pick only those plants and animals that can be found in such parks. But apparently the coin does not actually mention the parks anyway - well, not on the depicted side. So let's think of it as a "nature" theme issue ...



The dates 1911-2011 on the piece refer to the centennial of the Canadian national parks.

What's on the piece matters in a commercial sense. If the target group likes it, it doesn't matter what's on it. However, if other publications will reflect this criticism, the target group will stay away.

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

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