Forestry ran deep in George Nelson Semmens. Born in Mt. Vernon, NY, he served in the 800th Engineer Forestry Company during WWII, and studied in the College of Forestry at Syracuse University.  In 1952, he joined the U.S. Forest Service, with his first assignment on the Wenatchee National Forest high up in the Cascade Mountains of the Pacific Northwest. Over the next nearly three decades, he held Forest Service posts in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania before his last station in Missoula, MT.  Later in life, he started his own forestry business and he would count travel, the outdoors, and wildlife as his interests. He was voted recycler of the year in 2008 by Lake State Industries.

In short, George Semmens lived a life of stewardship. He knew that taking care of our cherished National Forests required more than just the Forest Service. He knew that stewardship of these public lands also required citizens and partner organizations to work with the Forest Service.  That idea lies at the heart of the NFF’s work; we connect communities to the forests around them, and we work collaboratively with the Forest Service on projects that make a tangible difference.

 This is probably why for fifteen years before he passed away in 2014, George was a steadfast annual supporter of the NFF.  But his greatest impact was to come later. George Semmens left a generous bequest for the NFF which will support the important work enhancing the forests to which George had dedicated his career. We are grateful for George’s lifetime of service to our forests, for his generosity to the NFF, and for the example he sets.

Gary Hattis

Bequests are a simple and powerful way for an individual to leave a legacy of conservation. In a sense, they are the ultimate act of stewardship. If you would like to learn more about simple ways to provide for the NFF in your plans, please call: Ray Foote, Executive Vice President, NFF at 571-366-1704 or  

National Forest Foundation