Ron Semmann helped create the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin while working at the Department of Natural Resources in 1986. He later served as the first executive director, brought on the first paid staff, and has been a critical member of the board of directors in the years that followed. Ron is now ready to enjoy a much-deserved retirement and while we will miss him greatly, his wisdom will always be welcome as Board Member Emeritus, friend, and supporter.

A message from Ron to all NRF members, partners, staff, and board:

It is always difficult to know when is the proper time to step aside. Given the quality of the board and the staff, and the dedication of all to our mission, I know the Foundation will continue to flourish in the years ahead.

Our success is the result of the work and love of many folks—love of a desire to preserve our corner of the earth. The creation of the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin was a labor of love on my part and that of our leadership team, but the real success is a product of hundreds of you devotedly and silently working to make a difference. It is also a product of thousands of Foundation members who have contributed financially, attended Field Trips, and volunteered their time.

There was a dream and a vision in 1986 that an organization could be created that would help to augment the financial shortcomings from the state budget. We were fortunate to have the wisdom and support of Secretary Besadny and his Natural Resources Board, and we had top DNR officers like Bruce Braun, Linda Bochert, Marty Henert, and others who said “let’s just do it.” So we did it—because of you—and I thank you. 

Ron has contributed so much to the Foundation over the years, including a history of NRF titled “Origins: Creating the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin”.

Piping plovers return to Green Bay

I recently had the opportunity to visit one of the projects we support through our Bird Protection Fund: the banding of federally endangered piping plover chicks near Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Wild Alaska

Discover Alaska, a rugged, mysterious, and breathtaking experience that will stay with you for a lifetime. From glaciers that seem to reach the clouds to the big game wildlife that makes Alaska the epic wilderness it is, you will be mesmerized by its untouched landscape.

Bats & Owls & Snakes, Oh My!

In honor of the spookiest season—October—we’re busting some myths surrounding traditionally “scary” creatures that deserve a snuggle just as much as any other cute creature.

The Wonders of Africa

In October 2020, we will be traveling from Zimbabwe to Zambia to Botswana, experiencing their movie-like landscapes and what makes them unique to Africa.

2020 Bird Protection Fund Projects

The Bird Protection Fund has decided upon its 2020 Priority Projects, with more than $60,000 going towards priority bird conservation projects that range from research to reintroduction efforts.

2018 Photo Contest Winners

Every year you send us your best photos that capture incredible moments from our Field Trips. Our 2018 Photo Contest winners give us an inside look into the unique experiences and critical conservation being done throughout the year – take a look!

Exploring the Canyonlands of the Southwest

The southwest is home to some of America’s most iconic landscapes, as well as several stunning national parks. In March 2020, we will be travelling to Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, and Monument Valley Navajo Park with professional naturalist Paul Regnier and professional geologist Dr. Roger Kuhns.

Hundreds of ‘Birdathonners’ Raise Funds for Bird Conservation Efforts in Wisconsin

The Great Wisconsin Birdathon is one of the most popular “bird-a-thon” style fundraisers in the nation, bringing in over $400,000 since it was created in 2012 to raise funds for bird protection efforts for Wisconsin birds.

Supporting Green & Healthy Schools Wisconsin

The Natural Resources Foundation is a proud supporter of Green & Healthy Schools Wisconsin, a program that empowers, supports and recognizes schools for nurturing healthy kids and sustainable communities.

A Walk Through Time and Hemlocks

All of this beautiful snow here in Madison reminds me of a winter trip I took to northern Wisconsin, when I had the opportunity to explore a new place: Germain Hemlocks State Natural Area in Oneida County.