Join us in welcoming the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin’s new Director of Philanthropy, Marta Weldon! Marta will be connecting people with meaningful opportunities to conserve, protect, and share the beauty of Wisconsin’s natural resources.

We sat down with Marta so you could learn more about her background and passion for conservation. Welcome to the Foundation!

New Director of Philanthropy Marta Weldon wearing hiking gear stands in front of a log cabin.

New Director of Philanthropy Marta Weldon fell in love with Wisconsin’s natural wonders while hiking the Ice Age Trail. Photo courtesy of Marta Weldon

Lake Michigan, sand dunes, cherry trees, and music

It’s true – ask anyone who grew up in Michigan where they’re from, and they’ll point to a spot on their left hand.

For me, that spot is the Grand Traverse Bay Region (pinky finger). Miles of shoreline outline the Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas and sweeping vistas of Lake Michigan and cherry orchards abound.

I grew up in Traverse City with year-round outdoor adventure everywhere. Our family often traveled to Mackinac Island, situated just east of the Mackinaw Bridge which connects the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan. To this day, the five-mile drive across the “Mighty Mac” is breathtaking. It’s beautiful in sunshine and calm breezes, or in high winds with turbulent waters below.

View of a peaceful lake framed by coniferous trees.

Marta feels strongly about protecting the Midwest’s natural beauty. Photo courtesy of Marta Weldon

With nature as my roots, music is my soul

I was infused with the beauty of nature and music alike from the start. Interlochen Center for the Arts, another gem of northern Michigan, is located near Traverse City. As my summer home-away-from-home for many years, Interlochen fostered my dream of playing clarinet in a professional orchestra. 

My musical pursuits led to degrees in clarinet performance and a graduate fellowship in Amsterdam. I eventually joined the Richmond Symphony in Virginia where performing and teaching at the university level became my first career. Special opportunities to perform in and tour Africa, Japan, and Jamaica were part of this wonderful experience.


An orchestra performs on a stage

Performing with the Richmond Symphony in Virginia and teaching clarinet at the university level was Marta’s first career. Photo courtesy of Marta Weldon

On, Wisconsin!

My career path has evolved from performing and teaching music to the joy of helping people realize their hopes and dreams through philanthropy.

The opportunity to become executive director of the Fox Valley Symphony in Appleton brought our family to Wisconsin. From there, I’ve held development positions for the Wisconsin Foundation for School Music, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley, and Junior Achievement of Wisconsin.

In August 2020, my husband, Michael, and I decided to explore the Ice Age Trail at its eastern terminus in Potawatomi State Park. Like so many others, we turned to the outdoors during the pandemic. The quest to hike all 1,200 miles of the Ice Age Trail took hold and we only have 91.6 miles to go as of this writing!

NRF's new director of philanthropy Marta Weldon (left) atop Devils Lak with family and dogs. Courtesy of Marta Weldon.

NRF’s new director of philanthropy Marta Weldon (left) atop Devils Lake with family (and dogs). Photo courtesy of Marta Weldon

We’ve experienced Wisconsin’s natural wonders in blazing sun and sub-zero cold. We’ve hiked through miles of fallen leaves and melting snows, encountering snakes and wolves along the way.

Michael and I enjoy spending time outdoors with our adult children and grandchildren, and we look forward to hiking, biking, kayaking with them here in Wisconsin.

The new director of philanthropy

Working for the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin is a joyful opportunity to fuse my passion for the environment with others who desire to conserve, protect, and share the beauty of our natural resources.

Please join us in welcoming Marta!

A wooden walkway winds through trees in fall colors.

Marta and her husband have explored Wisconsin through all kinds of weather, from freezing cold to sweltering hot. Photo courtesy of Marta Weldon

Written by Marta Weldon, Director of Philanthropy

Wing it with these tips for new birdwatchers

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Welcome to the Foundation, Tee!

We’re thrilled to welcome our new volunteer, Tee Karki!

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.

Welcome to the Foundation, Brenna!

We’re thrilled to welcome our new Grant Writer, Brenna Holzhauer!

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.

Welcome to the Foundation, Michaela!

We’re thrilled to welcome our new Executive Assistant, Michaela Daly.

Lights, Camera, Conservation

In her work at the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, Caitlin Williamson makes sure that the Wisconsin conservation show goes on.

Birding in the Northwoods

Hear from two of our Great Wisconsin Birdathon teams in northern Wisconsin to get a feel for birding in the Northwoods!

A Conversation with Damian Vraniak

Damian Vraniak shares how 40 years of restoration on his family’s land has allowed humans, wildlife, and land to sustain each other.