At its annual meeting in November, the Friends of Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge presented the organization’s 2020 David Ross Palmer Environmental Hero Award to MaryKay Fox of Falmouth. Since 2013, the award has been bestowed on community leaders who demonstrate outstanding dedication and excellent stewardship and conservation work within the wildlife refuge.

Ms. Fox has been on the organization’s board of directors since 2004, served as its president from 2011 to 2018 and is treasurer of the Friends organization. Throughout her professional career, along with a dedication to volunteerism and personal example, Ms. Fox has been an advocate for wildlife, from sea turtles to pollinators.

Ms. Fox came to the Cape in 1999 from Minnesota to work at the Marine Biological Laboratory Ecosystems Center after finishing her bachelor’s degree in fish and wildlife management and a master’s degree in water resources. Ms. Fox completed her working career at the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, retiring in 2013.

In recent years as a volunteer, Ms. Fox has been instrumental in securing and managing local environmental grants, including one from the US Fish & Wildlife Partners Program for Monarch Butterfly Habitat and two grants from the Town of Mashpee Community Preservation Committee to produce trail guides and a history book on the Mashpee refuge.

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