OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — A new science learning laboratory at the NatureBridge campus in Olympic National Park has been named in honor of Port Angeles native and longtime educator Marie Brackett Marrs.
Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and his wife, Becky, a former Sequim resident, were on hand to present the honor to Marrs on Aug. 29.
Becky Gates and Marie Marrs are members of the NatureBridge/Olympic regional board who have been friends for more than 50 years since they met as students at Washington State University.
Stephen Streufert, NatureBridge Pacific Northwest director, surprised Marrs with the presentation of the name plaque to be mounted inside the new learning laboratory.
The lab was created by remodeling the former office building near the entrance to the Rosemary Inn campus at Barnes Point on Highway 101 in Olympic National Park.
The work was paid for with donations by the Gateses and the D.V. and Ida J. McEachern Charitable Trust.
Robert and Becky Gates live in Skagit County and have been supporters of NatureBridge’s environmental education programs for years.
Marrs formerly brought her students from Eagle Harbor High School on Bainbridge Island to NatureBridge when it was known as the Olympic Park Institute. She joined the NatureBridge board nine years ago, shortly before retiring from teaching.
She is a former member of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Education Advisory Council and has been a trainer for special environmental education programs.
She is a 1961 graduate of Port Angeles High School and lives at Lake Sutherland with her husband, John Marrs.
Founded in 1971, NatureBridge provides environmental science programs for students in national park “outdoor classrooms,” serving more than 30,000 students and teachers at six sites in California and Virginia, as well as Washington.