By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News
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Today, “Kindred Spirits,” fashioned from a 13-foot, 450-pound Western red cedar tree trunk, will be officially welcomed at the Arthur D. Feiro Marine Life Center on City Pier at 331 N. Lincoln St. with a gathering at 3 p.m. Admission is free.
“Kindred Spirits” is a story pole with its own bench, a tree adorned with copper symbols and found objects in honor of the late Art Feiro and Will Wirt, the Port Angeles educators who envisioned the marine life center.
“It's just gorgeous,” said Deborah Moriarty, the Feiro center's director.
Mundy engineered the sculpture to wrap around one of the center's support posts.
“So it looks like it belongs here,” Moriarty said.
At this afternoon's dedication, refreshments will be served, and Wirt's and Feiro's friends and family will share stories of how the center came to be.
Then as now, a flock of volunteers and various fundraising events — the Fish on the Fence art project and banquet, for example — turned ideas into reality.
Feiro, a high school and Peninsula College science teacher, summed up his vision for the center as a “multifaceted, dynamic, living, breathing facility . . . a teaching laboratory, a public center for marine studies and a point of interest for tourists.”
The Arthur D. Feiro Marine Laboratory, as it was known then, opened in November 1981.
After Feiro died in 1982, Wirt became its director.
Wirt, who had been a professor of biology and chemistry at Peninsula College, served at the Feiro center for many years before his death in 2008.
“Thousands of visitors and schoolchildren have benefited from Art and Will's vision over the years,” Moriarty said.
The $13,000 “Kindred Spirits” monument, with its hand-hammered copper sea stars, kelp and fish, was funded by donations from the Feiro and Wirt families.
The story pole and bench are “for rest and remembrance,” according to Mundy, who will give brief remarks at today's gathering.
The Feiro Marine Life Center has switched to its summer hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, with admission at $4 for adults, $1 for children ages 4 to 17 and free for those 3 and younger.
In addition to the science exhibits and art on display, the center will offer five summer programs for youths ages 5 to 18, Moriarty noted.
Youngsters and their families can find out more by visiting www.FeiroMarineLifeCenter.org or phoning the center at 360-417-6254.
Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.