The Story of Wood at Bernheim’s Spirit Nest

By Jenny Zeller

Spirit Nest‘s main structure is built from harvested eucalyptus, an invasive species in California.


Spirit Nest, created by renowned artist Jayson Fann, is built from a variety of natural materials. The main component was built with harvested eucalyptus, an invasive species in California removed as part of native habitat restoration projects. Bernheim’s Spirit Nest also contains regional hardwoods consisting of ash, oak, hickory, black locust and stairs made from cedar planks. All hardwoods are from fallen trees throughout the arboretum and forest, and just like the harvested eucalyptus, are repurposed into this uniquely Bernheim installation.

Spirit Nest‘s 40-ft natural amphitheater contains a variety of fallen hardwoods from the grounds of Bernheim.
The amazing Operations team at Bernheim milled cedar planks from fallen trees around the arboretum to build the beautiful staircase that leads visitors to the second floor of Spirit Nest.










Additionally, the work is accentuated with driftwood collected from the Salt River and the Falls of the Ohio, which are renewable resources of multiple tree species, often traveling from as far as Pennsylvania.

The Spirit Nest Drum is made from a hollowed maple tree trunk and brought into the circle on good weather weekends and special events.

In preparation for the installation, volunteers gathered at the Falls of the Ohio to collect driftwood for the art work. A huge thanks to our dedicated Bernheim volunteers and employees of KEEN shoes who helped make Spirit Nest site specific to our region!




The Spirit Nest Drum

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