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”.

The Wisconsin Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Fund

This endowment fund will provide sustainable support to protect Wisconsin’s turtles, toads, frogs, lizards, snakes, and salamanders for future generations.

Backyard Birding with the Great Wisconsin Birdathon

This year the Great Wisconsin Birdathon participants took part in the Backyard Birding Challenge, finding an incredible 185 species in their own backyards!

Tracking the Phantoms: A Red-shouldered Hawk Telemetry Study

In 2018 the Foundation helped fund the first attempt to monitor Wisconsin’s red-shouldered hawk with more advanced telemetry technology.

We’re Partnering up with Snapshot Wisconsin

We’re excited to announce that the Foundation is partnering with Snapshot Wisconsin to provide more volunteer opportunities for our members!

Feathers – Finders Keepers? Not Really . . .

For generations, feathers have been used in many decorative ways. Once removed from the bird, there is no way to know how they were acquired. The federal migratory bird act of 1972 put specific laws in place to protect all birds to keep them from being killed for their feathers.

Conservation Dogs Lend a Paw in Bumble Bee Surveys

Thanks to the incredible support from the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin’s Wisconsin Pollinator Protection Fund, Midwest Conservation Dogs, Inc. has begun training professional detection dogs to locate bumble bee nests.

Conservation, Community, and Racial Justice

Recent events have shined a light on the deeply ingrained injustices that people of color continue to face, particularly the black community. The discrimination, violence, and oppression have left me and my colleagues at the Foundation deeply disturbed. We are angry. We are sad. We also stand in solidarity with all who are working to assure social and racial justice.

7 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary

While most Earth Day in-person and large events have been canceled, the celebration of the nation-wide event that began right here in Wisconsin continues. 

14 Things We ❤️ About Wisconsin

To celebrate Valentine’s Day we have compiled a list of 14 things we love about our valentine—Wisconsin.

Exploring Best Practices in Conservation Planning

As NRF continues to focus on our impact on Wisconsin’s lands, waters, and wildlife, we are exploring resources that focus on evidence-based practices, evaluation, measuring and monitoring, and best practices utilized by peer conservation organizations across the globe.