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”.

Preserving Wisconsin’s Iconic Northwoods: Tyler Forks Community Forest

This property conserves undeveloped forested areas and wetlands in northern Wisconsin, safeguarding its beauty and ecological diversity.

2021 Bird Protection Fund Projects

It has been a record-breaking year for the Great Wisconsin Birdathon! Read about the amazing projects we are funding through our Bird Protection Fund.

Centering Equity in Conservation

The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin presents workshops to center equity in diversity, equality, and inclusion in conservation work.

Breaking Records #ForTheBirds: The Birdathon Teams of WSO

This year the Great Wisconsin Birdathon participants broke record after record while birding and being socially distant.

Welcome our New Student Staff

Welcome and read all about newest student staff members, Lindsey Taylor and Ashley Luehmann.

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.