A passion for nature, authentic human interaction, and imagination led Will Beilharz to found ArtisTree on principles learned early in his life. In 1998, the Beilharz family moved to 88 acres of undeveloped ranch land in the Texas Hill Country. A family of six in a self-built Mongolian yurt, the Beilharz clan thrived on the land, growing their own food, generating their own electricity, and purifying their own water. Sustainability was more than their philosophy; it was their way of life. Will Beilharz, founder of ArtisTree, adopted his family’s philosophy and developed a deep respect for nature learned by living with it, rather than free of it.
Will’s journey as a builder and designer began when he was 9 years old as he and his father built from scratch their 4-story, 19-sided home. Living completely off-grid for six years during construction taught Will how to design in rhythm with nature, using native materials and energy efficient designs to make a dream tangible. Seeking to connect other people with nature, the Beilharz family designed, built, and currently manages a successful zipline adventure company on their land; Will’s first taste of aerial construction and business management. From there, Will eventually oversaw the construction, training, and operations of several zipline canopy tours in the United States, developing safety and risk procedures which still influence canopy tour companies today. Being apart of this developing industry allowed Will to apply his love of nature and skill behind a hammer to a unique form of both business and construction – a fusion of man and nature which led him to found ArtisTree Treehouses in 2012.
Since then, Will’s rapidly growing company has worked with a variety of clients and designers around the world to construct a unique collection of treehouses which fuse hospitality design and sustainability with a connection to the local, native landscape. Specializing in green architecture, aerial construction, and unique design with over 12 years’ experience building in the trees, Will still incorporates that passion for sustainability which he learned early in his life. Recently awarded Hospitality Design 2016 award for Best in Show, Best in Sustainability and Best in Lifestyle, he also received awards from International Interior Design Association (IIDA) and American Institute of Architecture (AIA). Will is passionate about building with nature and creating unique, enchanting structures that enrich the lives of those who use them.
Amy is a successful serial entrepreneur and Harvard MBA with 12 years’ experience in ecotourism and overnight treehouse accommodations. She has operated and marketed both high and low-tech companies for over 30 years and has been responsible for marketing and selling innovations ranging from cell phones to zip lines. Amy’s consulting experience spans from startups to enterprises earning hundreds of millions of dollars annually, guiding companies in creating cohesive marketing and operating plans that yield results. As an expert in the changing tourism market, Amy can help companies capitalize on emerging trends and create offerings that are interesting to the public, marketable, and highly profitable. Amy has been leading for-profit conservation for nearly 20 years and is passionate about creating highly profitable businesses that are in partnership with their communities and serve as model stewards of our planet.
Caitlin Rowe is both ArtisTree’s Business Manager and one of our treehouse builders. Born and raised in Austin Texas, she grew up in a household composed of a master carpenter and a commercial landscaper which gave her the exposure of both how to run a business and how to build a masterpiece. Since then, she has honed her business skills running her own massage and Herbal Medicine businesses.
Caitlin is passionate about sustainability and has been living a sustainable off-grid lifestyle since 2011 when she moved to 6-acres of land without running water or electricity. “When I watched garbage warrior, by Mike Reynolds, and saw him build beautiful structures out of waste I became inspired to change my life, and the way I live.” On the 6-acre land, Caitlin set up rainwater collection systems, built a tiny home, grew food, and explored how to live in harmony with the land. Caitlin joined AritsTree in 2015 to apply all the skills she’d acquired in a forum that could help take sustainability to the next level.
Jeff Buss, our Lead Builder, has been a crucial part of ArtisTree since 2014. As a highly skilled craftsman with an engineer’s mind, Jeff plays an integral part in project planning and implementation. With extensive knowledge in custom home building and an academic background in structural engineering, Jeff merges elaborate designs with grounded methodology to build beautiful, sustainable structures that last. He is hands-on from start to finish, from the initial drawings to installing the finishing touches. “My passion for building lies in the details of every piece that I create and install,” Jeff iterates. “I love building something that will not only look great new, but also has the longevity and strength to look great for many years to come.”
Our Lead Climber, Forest Croft, joined ArtisTree in early 2014. When we begin a new project, Forest is the first one up the tree and the last one out. His superior climbing skills and risk assessment planning make him the perfect fit for climbing even mighty redwood trees. He draws from a background in film sets, carpentry shops, and serving as a guide in “nature immersion” camps. As the Project Coordinator for El Ranchito’s Conservation Corps, Forest organized, managed and trained over 100 people on trail maintenance, operations, and invasive species removal throughout 500 acres of land. The natural classroom, in its many forms, has engrained in Forest an appreciation for diversity and a keen desire to connect people with wild spaces. Forest is a valuable member of the ArtisTree team, and his passion and respect for the outdoors shines in his everyday work.
Specializing in fine woodworking and rigging, Cedric began his work with ArtisTree in 2012. An Arkansas native, his passion for a career outdoors saw him working as a guide at wilderness camp for troubled teens. Having always been drawn to nature, this guiding position allowed him to share his enthusiasm for the outdoors with kids that were in need of both refuge and positive influence.The experience served to be Cedric’s most challenging and rewarding thus far, inspiring him to work at heights ever since.
Working as an eco-adventure guide at the Beilharz’s Cypress Valley Canopy Tours in Austin in 2008, Texas, Cedric was able to apply his love for nature and helping people experience adventure. He eventually became a course manager, training many new zipline guides in all aspects of operation, safety, and risk management. He managed over two dozen employees and was responsible for course maintenance such as calibrating zip lines and insuring structural integrity, skills in aerial construction and inspection which he has carried over to ArtisTree.
Dustin Feider, founder of O2 Treehouse, received his degree in Furniture Design from MCAD in 2005. He then set to work building a geodesic structure 50 feet up in a Poplar tree in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. He had been fascinated by treehouses and their relationship to nature for many years.
Following the wild success of this prototype, O2 Treehouse was born, it’s main objective to inspire people to reconsider how we can more harmlessly coexist with nature. Dustin’s treehouse designs have received national and international recognition in the design community, appearing in over 50 design publications and television shows around the world, most notably Popular Mechanics, Dwell and Wired Magazine. He has built 36 plus treehouses to date, several of which hang in the backyards of celebrity clientele such as Robby Krieger of The Doors.
His work has also been exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Coachella Music Festival, Electric Daisy Carnival, and in ‘Space Craft’ at the Walker Art Center.
Collaborators & Advisers
Mark founded, designed, built and led The Treehouse Camp at Burning Man in 2014, which included the construction and operation of a three-story treehouse in the Nevada desert.
Since 2012, Mark has honed his project management, operational and administrative skills at ClimateWorks Foundation, a nonprofit based in San Francisco dedicated to helping solve the world’s climate crisis. While at ClimateWorks, Mark became inspired to respond to the urgent call of the sustainability movement to develop eco-conscious solutions to global challenges that bring humanity back into harmony with the planet.
Following Burning Man 2014, Mark began working on what he deemed his unique contribution to the sustainability movement – the development and operation of sustainable treehouse resorts.
Kim Nadel is an award-winning, certified interior designer and LEED Accredited Professional specializing in residential and hospitality interiors that offer relaxed, inspired coastal living. Her sense of indoor-outdoor architectural balance has inspired her to use space and nature in a harmonious way, combining comfort and sophistication.
Kim is a co-author of The Green Pages: The Contract Designer’s Guide to Environmentally Responsible Materials and Products, and has been awarded by Hospitality Design Magazine as one of “The Industry 20: Leaders in Innovation & Influence.” She has been a keynote panelist educating architects and designers across the United States. Her work has been featured in a variety of publications including Dwell, Architectural Digest, Interiors, Hospitality Design, Riviera Interiors, and Ocean Home.
Born and raised in Louisiana, Mandy Chenevert has worked on a variety of commercial projects for over ten years. She graduated from LSU in Architecture with a minor in Construction Management during this time. For three years Mandy specialized in medical offices in Phoenix, Arizona. Her software skills include AutoCAD, Revit, Photoshop, and Auto-Plant, with a focus on 3D modeling.Mandy has enjoyed teaching AutoCAD for architectural, civil, structural, and engineering drafting at Technical and Community Colleges. Mandy has now expanded her portfolio to include multi-family homes, single-family houses, and treehouses. When not at the office, she enjoys travel, dancing, music festivals, skating, and the outdoors.
With an M.S. in Range Management from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.S. in Environmental Studies from Principia College, Craig Anderson bolsters his love of nature with a robust academic background. He has worked in numerous fields outdoors, starting as a Field Science Instructor with the Yosemite Institute before becoming an outdoor programs director and guide with several camps and programs. Today, Craig oversees Land Partners Through Stewardship as the Executive Director, responsible for managing and conserving thousands of acres of parks, acquiring new conservation lands, developing recreation programs, and promoting conservation efforts throughout his community. The Bay Nature Magazine awarded Craig the Local Hero award for Conservation in 2014, two years after which he received the Nonprofit Leadership Award from the North Bay Business Journal.
Joe C. Yelderman Jr. is a hydrogeologist with 40+ years of experience. He is a member of the Geological Society of America and the National Groundwater Association as well as a registered professional geologist in Texas (PG #2941). He has a broad background with degrees in geology and environmental studies. His Ph.D. is from the University of Wisconsin at Madison where he studied hydrogeology and water in environmental planning. He is currently a hydrology professor at Baylor University where he teaches in the Geology and Environmental Science departments while actively participating as a faculty member in the Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Sciences Research. He currently serves as the Director of the Institute of Ecological, Earth and Environmental Sciences and as Director of the Baylor Wastewater Research Program. Before becoming a professor at Baylor University, Dr. Joe (his familiar title at Baylor) worked in mining, local governments, and consulting. He is also a member of the National Audubon Society and an avid birder (“amateur ornithologist” in his own words). He has international experience with projects in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Uganda. His passion is finding creative solutions to water management problems using natural processes.