Ken Jacobsen is an avid nature enthusiast and nature photographer. His 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." In 1986, Ken earned the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank in Scouting.
When Ken was 17, his Dad lent him his camera to use on a trip to Europe. This sparked an interest in photography, which merged with his love of nature, and resulted in a passion for Nature Photography. While attending a photography workshop twenty years ago taught by Rod Planck, Ken went for a hike with Rod whom was identifying birds by song.
"I couldn't believe someone could do that. Then we sat on the cliffs of Picture Rocks on Lake Superior watching peregrine falcons and a bald eagle ride the winds along the cliffs. I was hooked and also became an avid birder."
After earning an MBA from Wayne State University, birding led Ken to a summer internship with the Whitefish Point Bird Observatory (WPBO) where he fell in love with Michigan’s eastern Upper Peninsula.
This also resulted in some land preservation accomplishments for which I am proudest and ultimately led me to meeting my wife, Stephanie. –Ken Jacobsen
When 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.
"As the kids grew, my volunteer activities have again increased, but now as a Boy Scouts of America Leader"
Ken became the official pack photographer, Assistant Cub Master, and later the Cub Master for Pack 631 in Commerce Twp., Michigan. In 2012, Ken was asked to present a Scout Photography session at the University of Scouting. Later the same year, his son crossed over to Boy Scouts and joined Troop 272 in Milford, Michigan.
While getting re-engaged with Scouting, Ken also managed to keep his hands in land preservation and in November 2010 was key in a successful effort to purchase and preserve approximately 100 acres of Lake Michigan back dunes as part of Muskegon County’s Meinert Park. This project is being spearheaded by the West Michigan Land Conservancy.
While on MAS's Board, Ken and Stephanie Jacobsen also started NaturePhotosOnline.com in 2005 to showcase his nature photography and other photographers’ work. They also decided to help preserve the natural world by donating five percent of photographic print sales to various environmental non-profits. With maximized search engine optimization, NaturePhotosOnline.com currently averages more than 6,500 visits per month and 190,000 hits per month.
Originally created as a place for photographers to showcase their art and offer prints for sale to the general public with a custom written application, NaturePhotosOnline.com now partners with SmugMug to allow photographers to sell Royalty Free and Managed Royalty images.
"We had about 50 photographers’ work and thousands of photos exhibited on the site when we decided to scrap the original database and re-launch the site in 2010. The site now allows featured photographers through Smug Mug to administer their own images, which saves us a lot of time."
Although, nature photography and Nature Photos Online are a passion and avocation for Ken, his avocation primary vocation is Director of Sales and Marketing for The TM Group. Established 25 years ago, The TM Group is one of the oldest and well established Microsoft Dynamics partners in the world. Microsoft Dynamics is an award-winning suite of adaptable business management applications used by more than 500,000 customers with over 2,000,000 users worldwide. Because Microsoft Dynamics has a familiar interface like Microsoft Outlook and Office, Microsoft Dynamics has less of a learning curve for most users so they can get up and running quickly and stay focused on what is most important for the business. By automating, integrating and streamlining business processes, Microsoft Dynamics brings together people, processes, and technologies, increasing the productivity and effectiveness of your business, and helping you drive business success. The TM Group works with a wide variety of clients including distributors, foundations, professional associations, manufacturers, physicians, hospitality & entertainment organizations, and family wealth groups.
"I particularly enjoy working with small- to mid-size companies in the selection and implementation of customer relationship management (CRM) applications and assisting them in developing their sales and marketing automation strategies."
Before joining The TM Group, Ken’s previous positions included e-Business Practice Development Consultant for Plante & Moran, Marketing Analyst for the Eastman Kodak Company, and Director of Sales and Marketing for a consumer products manufacturer representative handling such lines as ECKO, O'Sullivan RTA furniture, and Melitta Coffee with the Kmart Corporation. Ken holds a B.A. in Advertising from Michigan State University and a Masters of Business Administration from Wayne State University.