Photo of Mary Katherine Ray for article on Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter website

By Mona Blaber, chapter communications coordinator

In June, Animal Protection New Mexico announced its Milagro Awards, honoring “champions for animals.”
APNM gave its Humane Citizen Award, for efforts by a private citizen to promote the humane treatment of animals, to Rio Grande Chapter Wildlife chair Mary Katherine Ray.

“Mary Katherine has been a dedicated, grassroots animal advocate for wildlife protection for decades. She is particularly active in current efforts to ban gruesome killing contests statewide, as well as efforts to ban cruel body-gripping traps and poisons on New Mexico’s public lands,” said APNM Executive Director Elisabeth Jennings.

Mary Katherine began volunteering for the Sierra Club when she inadvertently sprung a trap while walking with her dogs and discovered that it had shut so tightly she could not reopen it. Her involvement deepened when she encountered a coyote in a leg-hold trap. By the time she could get back with help, the coyote had escaped the trap, leaving behind her paw in the trap’s jaws.

With a BS in biology, a passion for wildlife and extensive knowledge of state Department of Game and Fish regulations, laws and practices, Mary Katherine has served as an expert witness before New Mexico House committees debating wildlife legislation. “She has contributed greatly to the establishment of a coalition and momentum for wildlife-friendly legislative change,” Jennings said.

The Milagro Awards are hosted every four years by Animal Protection of New Mexico. The awards ceremony is open to the public and will be held Oct. 3. Tickets are on sale online (apnm.org/milagro) or by calling (505) 265-2322, ext. 32. Visit www.apnm.org/milagroawards/ for details.

Ray wins ‘Humane Citizen’ award