By Nathaniel A. Lopez
Starting her career in 1999 at the Oracle Center for Environmental Education, Jennifer Rinio has put her time into Oracle’s nature. She would coordinate the school programs and volunteer program. Jennifer also assisted with the development of day-use park for the grand opening of Oracle State Park, which opened to the public in October of 2001. She spent 17 years living on the park, 13 years in the Sister’s Cottage and 4 years in the Homestead House.
“Ah, the rattlesnake encounters and scorpion stings! It was my dream job for many years, to live on a wildlife refuge and coordinate environmental education for students and public,” Jennifer wrote in a story of her time at the park. Dedication kept her working through the “budget-challenged” years, putting her alongside a skeleton crew and dedicated volunteers, collaborating to put together a calendar packed full of events.
“Some of my favorite days were hiking with weed-eater to mow the two-mile remote stretch of Manzanita Trail, or building a fire in the ranch house for visitors on cold snowy days; the reward of teaching kids on the trail, the community teamwork of the Calabazas Festivals, the wildlife encounters that could fill a book.”
After 21 years Jennifer has decided to retire from Arizona State Parks, “Thank you everyone who was part of my meaningful park ranger life!”
And in true Oracle style, her friends are throwing her a party!
The celebration is set for Friday, April 15, at 4 p.m. at the Oracle Community Learning Garden. There will be live music and more. Contact the Friends of the Oracle State Park for more information: FriendsOracleStatePark@gmail.com.