Zoo Atlanta will close early on Sat., May 25 for Brew at the Zoo. Gates will close at 1:30 p.m. and grounds will close at 3 p.m. 

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The power of a quarter

Under the driver’s seat of your car right now, there is probably a small metallic disc.  It’s mostly copper.  There is some nickel in its composition as well. It’s not smooth. The edge is ridged. It has 119 ridges. It doesn’t weigh much at all, about .2 ounces. It’s about 1.5 mm thick. It’s nearly 1 inch in diameter. The two sides of this disc are smooth, but not even. There are bumps and shapes. It’s been tooled and carved to serve a unique and vital purpose. This disc has the power to change the world. You see this disc all the time and you don’t even really consider the power it has. The incredible potential of something so small. This disc is a quarter.

I’m sure you’re thinking, “Zach, this is not 1950 anymore.  I can’t buy anything for a quarter. Gone are the days of Juicy Fruit $.25 cent packs that would lose their flavor faster than ice cream melts on a summer day. There is no place where you can get much if anything for a quarter these days.”

This is true. Things that used to cost a quarter in 1950. like a hamburger and fries from a fast food chain, or a jar of grape jelly, or a five-pack of toilet paper, or a loaf of bread. Now the only thing you can get for a quarter is a game of Ms. Pacman on a busted machine at your local pizza place.

So, we may need more than one quarter. Two quarters could upgrade us to a better arcade game. Three could get us some time on a parking meter. Four could get one of our favorite songs from iTunes. Now, we’re gaining purchasing power. 

If we stacked some quarters on top of each other till the stack was about 30 feet tall, or if we laid them out in a line end to end in a line that was from goal line to goal line of a football field and back, we could have some serious power. 

That’s what we do here at Zoo Atlanta with our Quarters for Conservation program! Each year, staff nominate conservation programs to be selected for Quarters for Conservation. Our Conservation Committee evaluates and chooses three different conservation programs of those nominated. Then for one whole year, the 363 days that the Zoo is open, of every ticket that is sold to the Zoo, one quarter from that ticket goes to Quarters for Conservation! So each time that you come to visit us here at Zoo Atlanta, you are supporting conservation in the wild. Not only through the conservation work that we do here at the Zoo, but also by contributing to the fund that will make a donation to other conservation groups! 

“How do I know what the Quarters for Conservation programs are?” I hear you shouting from behind your screen. Programs are announced each year to coincide around Endangered Species Day on May 11.  Our current benefited programs are Vulpro, a conservation group that works to protect African vultures in the wild; Colobus Conservation, helping Angolan colobus monkeys in the wild; and Project Gorilla Fernan-Vaz, a group working to protect gorillas and human communities!

Vulpro protects vulture populations through rehabilitating injured birds. They help wild populations by releasing birds into the wild after they are bred in human care. They also study vultures to discover new ways to help conservation efforts. Vulpro will utilize our Quarters for Conservation support to expand their breeding program to include hooded vultures and lappet-faced vultures – two endangered species that call Zoo Atlanta home.

Colobus Conservation works in partnership with Kenya Wildlife Services. They work to mitigate wildlife traffic accidents, protect wildlife habitat, and provide economic opportunities to local communities. One unique aspect of their work is what they call “colobridges,” which allow wildlife to safely access forest areas on either side of the road without being hit by motor vehicles.

Project Gorilla Fernan Vaz works to save gorillas while also helping people. Their focus on capacity building in the local community includes purchasing locally-grown produce for the rescued gorillas in their care; hiring local people to work at the sanctuary; and training community members to conduct biodiversity surveys. These initiatives provide reliable income so that residents do not need to rely on poaching.

“Do I get to select which group my quarter goes to?” Yes, yes you do! You can vote on our website. Just click the link below! The link also provides more insight into our benefited programs and more about the work they do!


While a quarter by itself may not be able to buy much these days, a quarter can still do a world of good in the rights hands, or paws.

Zach Stich
Public Programs Coordinator  



Author Alot Finance Team Last Updated: October 07, Author, Team, A. F., & 07, L. U. O. (2020, October 7). 25 things you could buy for a quarter in the 1950s. Alot Finance. Retrieved March 3, 2023, from https://finance.alot.com/personal-finance/10-things-you-could-buy-for-a-quarter-in-the-1950s–11171

Meredith, S. (2022, April 28). Coin Specifications: U.S. Mint. United States Mint. Retrieved March 3, 2023, from https://www.usmint.gov/learn/coin-and-medal-programs/coin-specifications

https://zooatlanta.org/conservation-action/quarters-for-conservation/. (n.d.).


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