Farewell, Spongebob

“Spongebob” Retires After 13 Years

For 13 years Bob Campbell has been making sure living creatures at Feiro have a safe place to live. And not just our marine life friends – Bob’s warmth and generosity has extended to volunteers, staff and community members over his tenure at Feiro. He will be the first to tell you that he’s not a marine biologist, but he’s been quietly teaching and inspiring generations of school children and college students over his years here.

Bob kids plankton towingArriving in Port Angeles from a long career in steel mills and foundries across the midwest and with an educational background in metallurgical engineering, Bob was hired on at Feiro. He soon made his way into the Fisheries Technology program at Peninsula College. Graduating in 2005, Bob became a fixture in the “marine scene.” Drawing his seine net at Hollywood Beach for school programs and summer camps, conducting “belly biology” from the former floating docks off of City Pier, monitoring salmon smolt twice a day during migration season on Ennis Creek, teaching adult classes and workshops, helping to relocate elephant seals and always keeping the water flowing and the tanks full of interesting marine life, even if that meant coming in at 2am to deal with a water emergency.

He had some tense years as the future of the center was in question from 2006-2008, with one of his responsibilities being asked to plan how to safely and properly close the place down. We are all grateful that it never came to that, and that Bob has been able to use his knowledge to help inform Feiro’s expansion plans.

Bob 2006In 2012 Bob was one of four Strait-area locals recognized by the Puget Sound Partnership as a Puget Sound Champion for his work in stewardship and education. Besides finding his voice as a teacher, Bob also truly became an “octopus whisperer.” From finding, to caring for, to releasing each giant Pacific octopus, he has developed a close rapport with this species, not to mention cultivating a great deal of patience as he waits for them to climb into and out of their transport carriers on their way back to the Strait.

Over his time in Port Angeles, Bob has also served on local committees and supported ocean conservation efforts nationally. Currently he sits on the Clallam County Marine Resources Committee. While we are all going to miss his daily presence, he is off for a well-earned break. Bob’s last day will be Friday August 26, 2016. Tamara Galvan, a current Feiro volunteer, has been hired as his replacement after a July search and interview process.

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