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About Us

Gone Wild Wandering is dedicated to backpacking, camping and nature photography trips to wild places. Ken Jacobsen is a nature photographer and his daughter Aspen is a singer/songwriter. When possible, they like to combine their passions with their family's wild wanderings and release videos on their YouTube Channel.


Ken Jacobsen's photos and writing have been published in “Nature Photographer”, “Michigan Natural Resources” and “Birders World” magazines. He was also highlighted in the book The Best of Nature Photography. Additionally, his photos have been incorporated into corporate marketing, calendars, and private art collections. Despite this wide application of his work, Ken still describes himself as an amateur photographer, as he engages in nature photography for pleasure rather than for financial benefit." I grew up on a creek on the edge of the developed suburbs of metropolitan Detroit. My days were spent playing along the creek and in the woods and wetlands it watered. My love of nature and camping was further cultivated on camping trips with my family and the Boy Scouts of America."


As a young singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Aspen Jacobsen aspires to emotionally touch people through her lyrics and soulful voice. Her music has been described as Folk-pop, Alternative Country and Americana. Aspen’s music career started at 9 years old, busking for tips singing pop songs with her little red ukulele at the Ann Arbor Art Fair. She earned enough money to purchase her first guitar and began writing her own music. After performing at Wheatland Music Festival’s open mic, Aspen was awarded a scholarship to study traditional Folk music. Through their continued support, she has learned flatpicking guitar and mandolin. She also plays a little slide guitar, fiddle, bass and piano. Aspen has played major music festivals in Michigan including Arts Beats and Eats, Wheatland Music Festival, Earthworks Harvest Gathering and the Buttermilk Jamboree. She has also been an opener at Michigan's premier listening rooms like The Ark, 20 Front Street, Trinity House and the Grand Rapids Listening Room. In 2019, Aspen was featured in the Radio DJ Showcase at the Folk Alliance Region Midwest annual conference.


Ken, Stephanie, Aspen and their son Bryce often camp in their Winnebago Minnie Drop as well as go backpacking throughout North America. Ken's outdoor passions have also resulted in some land preservation accomplishments for which he is proudest. When Michigan's Whitefish Point became threatened with over-development, Ken and some friends, including Joe Kaplan, Louie Dombrowski and Adam Bryne, successfully convinced the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to take ownership of the majority of the Whitefish Point Lighthouse Property as a unit of Seney National Wildlife Refuge. The rest of the property divided between The Great Lakes Historical Society and Michigan Audubon Society. It was while passing out petitions for this campaign that Ken met his wife Stephanie on a hike at Proud Lake Recreation Area with The Sierra Club. A mutual friend, Joe Kaplan, had invited her to come for the hike and about a year later they were married.


After the successful Whitefish Point property campaign, Ken was elected to WPBO's Board of Directors, and he started the Stewardship Committee. Using extensive knowledge of land conservancies which he had acquired during an internship for The Nature Conservancy while an Advertising and Public Relations undergrad at Michigan State University, Ken put that knowledge to use at Whitefish Point. Over the years, he has been involved in six projects in the peninsula that have protected hundreds of acres of land and several miles of Lake Superior Shoreline at Vermilion Point. The cost of these properties was more than $10 Million and was funded mostly by The Nature Conservancy, Little Traverse Conservancy, Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, and the North American Wetland Conservation Act.


After serving two terms on the WPBO Board, Ken ran for Michigan Audubon Society's (MAS - WPBO's Parent Organization) Board of Directors and was ultimately elected to two terms. He even served on the MAS Executive Committee and became Treasurer, but eventually resigned from the board to devote more time to his family and kids. Now that the kids are getting older, he is once again starting to concentrate on his passion for conservation, nature photography and favorite outdoor activities.

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