Gov. Jeremiah “Jay” Nixon has appointed a central Missouri native with a lifelong interest in the outdoors and a proven commitment to public service to a six-year term on the Conservation Commission.
Marilynn J. Bradford, (I), Jefferson City, has a diverse background in government, private business and citizen conservation. Her term on the Conservation Commission will run through June 30, 2019.
Bradford’s diverse career includes more than 20 years of public service in state government with the departments of Agriculture and Social Services, working primarily in community and media relations.
While employed by the state, Bradford worked with national media, including the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the Public Broadcasting Service. She worked extensively with state and national foundations developing grant funding for Missouri initiatives
A life member of the Conservation Federation of Missouri, Bradford served on the planning committee for the federation’s 2009 Summit on the Future of Missouri Outdoors.
Conservation Department Director Robert L. Ziehmer says the agency is certain to benefit from Bradford’s diverse experience.
“Her long-time commitment to Missouri, interest in the outdoors and her work with various organizations gives her a firm foundation of knowledge about conservation issues. We could not be more pleased with her selection to serve on the Conservation Commission.”
Bradford and her husband are co-owners of Pyramid Home Health Services, which serves more than 3,000 elderly and disabled Missourians. They also co-own a 1,000-acre timber and hunting property in Wayne and Madison counties and a rice farm in Pemiscot County.
Bradford says her interest in conservation began as a child growing up in the “Mayberry-like” setting in Jefferson City.
“To my mother’s dismay, I was a tomboy from the get-go,” says Bradford. “My dad ran a Western Auto store and my main interests were the cap-guns and BB rifles they sold. I always wanted a Daisy BB gun.”
“We had a creek across the street and all the kids in the neighborhood took advantage of catching tadpoles, frogs, turtles, fish, and even a few small snakes. There were woods nearby where we could invent games and let our imaginations run wild.
“That’s where I remember the early evening call of the whippoorwills and owls later at night. My family enjoyed fishing and boating and we took many outings on the Osage River and to the Lake of the Ozarks and Bennett Springs.”
Her early exposure to Missouri’s trout parks was reinforced when her husband introduced her to fly-fishing, one of her favorite pastimes today.
“We have taken fishing trips across the country,” says Bradford, “but there is no better fishing than right here in Missouri.”
Bradford counts her Great Aunt Fredricka Simonsen among her formative influences.
“She was my role model,” says Bradford. “She was a true trailblazing woman. She was Missouri’s first woman pharmacist in 1899. Her spirit shaped my beliefs today and my desire to serve the public.”
Summing up her commitment, she says, “I am a fourth generation Missourian and deeply love this state – its beauty and diversity are unmatched. There truly is no better place to live. It is a great honor to be asked to serve as a Conservation Commissioner, and I am proud to join the ranks of so many volunteer conservation leaders who have worked together to preserve our state’s natural beauty and environment for future generations.”
“Being a grandmother of 4-year old twins reminds me daily of the important task that is ahead and the significance of this position,” says Bradford. “I look forward to contributing my energies and efforts for the Missouri Department of Conservation and our children’s future.”
Bradford replaces Don Johnson, Festus, who served from 2007 through 2013.
The Missouri Conservation Commission controls, manages, restores, conserves and regulates the bird, fish, game, forestry and all wildlife resources of the state, including hatcheries, sanctuaries, refuges, reservations and all other property owned, acquired or used for such purposes, as well as the acquisition and establishment of those properties.