Pinal County Attorney’s Office helps ‘Friends’ in need

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By John Hernandez

The Pinal County Attorney’s Office has helped the Friends of Oracle State Park (FOSP) and Arizona State Parks get closer to their funding goal which will enable them to re-open Oracle State Park and provide environmental education programs for youth.

Last week, Pinal County Attorney James P. Walsh presented Cindy Krupicka, President of FOSP, with a check for $2,500. The funding was made available through Pinal County’s RICO funds.

The money will be used to support the unique outdoor education programs at the park that combines classroom studies with a fun and educational field trip to Oracle State Park. The programs are offered to schools/teachers in the Tri-Community as well as the greater Tucson area. These youth programs such as Adventure (first-third grades) and Odyssey (fourth-sixth grade) give kids positive experiences which help them make positive choices in their lives. It allows youth to become aware of alternatives to gangs, drugs and violence. Many of these kids have never camped, hiked, experienced the outdoors or visited a state park. Experiencing the park and learning about nature in this educational environment can have a positive influence on a kids’ knowledge, enabling them to make informed, educated lifestyle decisions.

The Friends of Oracle State Park are matching the funds dollar for dollar. This funding will support the cost of the program, supplying marketing material, pre-visit and post- visit educational materials, postage, back packs, first-aid kits and other on-site materials. The program coordinators are Cindy Krupicka for FOSP and Jennifer Rinio, Arizona State Park Ranger. The 5,500 acre park will be open to educational programs on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and to the general public on Saturdays, in the spring and fall of 2012.

Thanks to the Pinal County Attorney’s Office a giant step has been taken towards re-opening Oracle State Park.

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