Spirit Nest Drum

By Jenny Zeller

Public dedication of the Spirit Nest by Jayson Fann, June 12, 2021.

Spirit Nest Drum
Hollowed Maple Tree Trunk, Cedar Pegs and Cow Skin Drumhead placed on a Cedar Platform


This large maple tree was retrieved from the large compost pile at Bernheim and repurposed into the Spirit Nest Drum.

Jayson Fann is an interdisciplinary artist, musician, educator and producer and creator of Spirit Nest, located in Zone 2 of Bernheim’s Playcosystem. The 25-foot tall structure is enclosed within a natural amphitheater and serves as an outdoor education space where everyone can learn about science and the wonders of the natural world.

As professional percussionist, Fann’s work is also about the integration between music, nature and art, and where those broad spaces intersect. To incorporate a musical component to Spirit Nest, Fann created an approximately 500-pound drum made from a hollowed maple tree to be placed in the center of the amphitheater at the site, both seasonally and for special occasions/events. Considered one of the world’s oldest musical instruments that originated from trees and found in every culture, Spirit Nest Drum represents the heart of the forest as rhythms in music also equals patterns found in nature.



Countless volunteer hours went towards the scraping the bark, shaping and sanding the trunk smooth before ultimately treating with linseed oil. Jayson also worked closely with members of YouthBuild’s Urban Conversation Corps program in prepping the cedar platform that the drum is placed upon. This was the first time that many of them had used these specific power tools and the group loved seeing their work come to fruition at the end of the work session! A slideshow of this experience is added below.



The drum is currently located in the Sassafras room of the Visitor Center and will be placed at the site both seasonally and for special occasions/events. Stay tuned to social media for discovering when this special piece is brought out for public to share their personal drumming rhythms and patterns with the forest.



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