Celebrating the contributions of our members

May 29, 2024

Photo courtesy of Mary Katherine Ray

From protecting public lands to working tirelessly to end cruel trapping in the state of New Mexico, Mary Katherine Ray has been a steadfast Guardian for many years. Mary Katherine first came to Guardians in the early 1990s in rural New Mexico. John Horning, Guardians’ former executive director, traveled to Truth or Consequences to speak about the conservation problems with grazing on public lands to a budding group of environmentalists, and his message resonated deeply with Mary Katherine’s experience of the natural world. 

“It was like a breath of fresh air to hear people talk about the environment,” said Mary Katherine.  

For Mary Katherine, Guardians’ legal tenacity stands above the rest. She said, “When you can’t get people in charge with a power to make a difference to do what they’re required to do by law, Guardians is fearless in taking them to court and winning. It’s just fantastic.” 

Now, WildEarth Guardians’ work is more important and urgent than ever. While the dire state of the planet can be overwhelming, Mary Katherine refuses to relinquish hope. 

“You can’t not have hope,” she said. “Nobody can do everything, but that’s not an excuse not to do something. Everybody should be doing something. And if everyone did, I mean, that would be incredibly helpful”

Mary Katherine remembers a local fellow advocate who fought tirelessly to prevent a dairy from destroying the Percha Creek floodplain saying “I don’t know how to quit.”

And he eventually prevailed. “The dairy did not get built,” Mary Katherine said. “So, you know, we do win sometimes and that keeps me going too. “

Mary Katherine is a true Guardian who inspires us all to never quit and reminds us that we can all do our part to protect the planet.

About the Author

Hannah Smay | Communications Manager, WildEarth Guardians

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