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”.

Conservation Planning in the Driftless Area

A group of conservation partners in Wisconsin’s Driftless Area are coming together to make a plan. Together, they’re determining the top priorities for protecting the region’s unique features and biodiversity.

Welcoming the 2022 Diversity in Conservation Internship Cohort

The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin welcomes the 2022 cohort of the Diversity in Conservation Internship program.

2021 Photo Contest Winners

Every year you send us your best photos that capture incredible moments in nature. Take a look at our 2021 Photo Contest winners!

2021 C.D. Besadny Conservation Fund Awarded to 14 Organizations Across Wisconsin

The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin awarded the C.D. Besadny Conservation Fund to 14 organizations across Wisconsin working to support grassroots conservation and education projects.

Sweet, sweet habitat: Restoring the Sugar River Wetlands

Thanks to a grant from the Alliant Energy Foundation, we were able to create and restore habitat for pollinators and wildlife species at the Sugar River Wetlands State Natural Area

The Kirtland’s warbler is here to stay

There is now permanent funding to support Kirtland’s warbler conservation efforts in Wisconsin! The American Bird Conservancy Kirtland’s Warbler Fund, held by the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, was established to provide a sustainable funding source for conservation efforts for the state-endangered Kirtland’s warbler in Wisconsin.

Foundation Member Spotlight: Jeff Bahls

Meet Foundation member Jeff Bahls and learn about his passion for wetlands and his Great Wisconsin Birdathon team, the Horicon Marsh Wrens. 

Recovering America’s Wildlife Act: A Once in a Generation Opportunity

This bipartisan federal legislation, if passed, would usher in a golden age for conservation for this generation.

Snapshot Wisconsin Brings Wildlife to the Classroom

High Marq participates in the Wisconsin DNR’s Snapshot Wisconsin program, focusing on monitoring local wildlife to contribute to community science.

A Safe and Healthy 2021 Birdathon

Learn how to have a safe, healthy and of course, fun Great Wisconsin Birdathon!