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”.

2024-2027 Strategic Plan

The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin’s staff and board of directors are proud to announce our new strategic plan. Thank you for being a part of this important work!

Bringing Wild Rice Back to Spur Lake

A group of conservation partners have come together to bring manoomin (wild rice), back to Spur Lake in Wisconsin.

Welcome to Wisconsin Fat Bird Week

Fat Bird Week is here! Vote for your favorite chonky bird every day from Friday, April 19th to Friday, April 26th.

Wing it with these tips for new birdwatchers

Wing it with these tips for new birdwatchers from Kim Kreitinger, our resident bird expert (and NRF’s Field Trips Coordinator)!

2023 Photo Contest Winners

Every year you send us your best photos that capture incredible moments in nature. Take a look at our 10th annual Photo Contest winners!

(Un)Lovable Wisconsin Wildlife

Here’s some of the most lovable “unlovable” Wisconsin wildlife, in honor of Valentine’s Day. These stereotypical “pests” are so much more.

Explore, Love, Protect: NRF’s 2023 Grants for Conservation and Environmental Education

In 2023, NRF invested over $940,000 in grants for conservation and environmental education projects across the state.

From PlayStation to Potawatomi State Park: How Camping Transformed My Life

Escuela Verde senior, Jonathan, led a three-day camping trip at Potawatomi State Park for 12 students thanks to a Go Outside Fund grant.

Watershed Health and Outdoor Fun on the Namekagon River

Thanks to a 2023 Go Outside Fund grant, 46 students canoe the Namekagon River for hands-on learning about watersheds.

Snapshot Wisconsin Trail Cams Capture Rare Wildlife Interactions

Snapshot Wisconsin trail cameras sometimes capture rare wildlife interactions. These photos support research on how different species coexist.