The Phillips Wharf Environmental Center’s Board of Directors has recently accepted the resignation of Kelley Phillips Cox, with Cox citing medical reasons for the move. The Board has named Cox Executive Director Emerita to honor her role as the nonprofit’s founder and first director.
Cox continues to volunteer for the nonprofit that carries her family name, helping with grant writing and administration, among other operational support.
“I’m very much still involved,” said Cox. “Right now, I need to make my health my priority, especially during the COVID pandemic. All the work Phillips Wharf does is still at my heart, and I am continuing to work with our community partners and assist with grants—all which will help to expand their aquaculture and education programs.”
“We are extremely grateful for Kelley’s leadership and service to the nonprofit that will always carry her family’s name,” said Phillips Wharf Board President Matt Albers. “Because of Kelley, we can continue to grow in the services provided as we educate more children and adults about Chesapeake Bay aquaculture and more.”
Albers says the Board is now overseeing PWEC’s limited operations due to the COVID pandemic, and plans to begin a new executive director search by spring 2021.
Cox is a Tilghman Island native who founded Phillips Wharf Environmental Center in 2005 on property that once served as a seafood packinghouse as part of Cox’s family lineage. Cox’s family includes multi-generations of Chesapeake Bay watermen, with Cox receiving her marine biology degree from Salisbury University in pursuit of her passion for science. Her research and expertise are focused on estuarine aquaculture and the Chesapeake Bay’s ecosystem, with experience as a project WET certified instructor.
Cox continues to be actively involved with numerous regional organizations, including the Maryland Association of Outdoor and Environmental Educators, Mid-Atlantic Marine Educators Association, National Marine Educators Association, National Science Teachers Association, and the Maryland Oyster Advisory Commission. She is the recipient of MAEOE’s 2014 Robert Finton Maryland Environmental Educator of the Year Award and its 2018 Heritage Heroes Award. Talbot County’s Office of Economic Development and Tourism recognized Cox with its2019 Community Impact Award.
Phillips Wharf’s mission is to encourage, educate, and engage Chesapeake Bay stewards of all ages through interactive experiences highlighting the Bay’s ecosystem and its inhabitants, with more at phillipswharf.org.