The Ohio State University at Marion

“Spiderman,” Dr. Rich Bradley recognized for a lifetime of community service

April 23, 2018
“Spiderman,” Dr. Rich Bradley recognized for a lifetime of community service

Associate Professor Emeritus in Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology, Dr. Richard A. Bradley, known for the decades of work in spider research and the environment, was awarded the Ralph Howard Service Award, Friday, April 20, 2018 at The Ohio State University at Marion’s 47th Annual Academic Recognition Ceremony in Morrill Hall Auditorium.

The Ralph Howard Service Award is presented annually by the Marion Campus Board to an individual member of the community, or an organization, that has contributed to the development of the academic program and has made a significant impact on the quality of education at The Ohio State University at Marion.

Bradley was recognized for his long history of community service and education while at Ohio State Marion and beyond, bridging the gap between nature and the community, specifically the mysterious and often misunderstood world of arachnids.

He received his Ph.D. in population biology at the University of New Mexico in 1983. He then took a position at the University of Sydney, Australia. He returned to the U.S. in 1987 and taught for a year at California State University at Long Beach. In 1988, he joined the faculty at The Ohio State University at Marion in the department of zoology.

During his time at Ohio State Marion, Bradley helped form the Marion Environment Group, a student organization dedicated to conservation and environmental action. For many years the students in this group organized environmental action on campus, including the annual Earth Day celebration, which involved a variety of community activities. The group organized campus-wide recycling efforts, and for years the proceeds from the recycling were donated to preserve rainforest habitats in Belize.

Dr. Bradley also took on a leadership role of the Larry R. Yoder Prairie Nature Learning Laboratory at Ohio State Marion in 1989. Student workers and student volunteers worked to expand the plantings of native prairie species, managed weedy invaders and gave tours to local school groups.

During his time at Ohio State Marion, he taught a variety of biology courses on the campus, including honors biology.

From 1994 through 2014, he ran a statewide citizen science outreach program, “The Ohio Spider Survey,” funded in part through small grants from the university and primarily through the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s Wildlife Diversity Program. Bradley authored a public education booklet through the Ohio Division of Wildlife entitled, “Ohio Spiders Field Guide,” as well as “In Your Backyard: Spiders,” published by the Ohio Biological Survey. During his 20 years of conducting the Ohio Spider Survey, he presented workshops to elementary and intermediate classrooms, educating thousands of Ohioans.

Bradley authored the first guide to spiders of North America, published by the University of California Press in 2013.

Since retirement, he has continued to present programs to a variety of organizations, schools, and senior centers. He volunteers weekly at the Museum of Biological Diversity on Ohio State’s Columbus campus, curating the spider collection, and volunteering for the museum’s annual open house. He has created an educational web site and blog,, and continues to field hundreds of email queries about spiders from the general public each year.

Additionally, he helps run the Delaware County Bird Club, presiding at the monthly meetings and leading the Delaware Reservoir Christmas Bird Count. His professional service also includes a variety of offices in the American Arachnological Society, culminating in his current position as president of this scientific organization.

The Ralph Howard Service award recognizes the lifelong contributions to academic excellence at Ohio State Marion by Mr. Ralph Howard and Mrs. Joanne Howard Hoffman. Each of the recipients – past, present, and future – has been recognized for their outstanding and unique contribution towards the ongoing success and growth of The Ohio State University at Marion and its students and plays a special role in the rich history of this campus.