October 14-16, 2021

The Natural Building Alliance presents the 2021 Rocky Mountain Natural Building Conference.  This will be our first conference outside of Colorado.  Come join us in Beautiful Moab, Utah, the home of Community Rebuilds and endless recreation opportunities.  The event will be held at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center Thursday, October 14th through Saturday 16th

The theme of the conference is “All Hands In”.  This theme recognizes and celebrates the fact that everything that all of us are doing is important and awesome, and that we can work together to make it even more awesome. 

Our Keynote Speaker for the event with be Chris Magwood of the Endeavour Centre, from Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.  He will be exploring if Natural Builders are Climate Heroes.

The conference program will include podium presentations, breakout sessions, and round-tables, and will also feature a generous variety of outdoor, hands-on workshops, and jovial after-hours gatherings.  And don’t forget… it’s Moab!  We encourage everyone to arrive early or stay late and enjoy this amazing corner of Planet Earth.

Online registration for the conference is still available.  Space at the venue is limited, so sign up before it fills up!  You can pay via your PayPal account, a credit card via “Stripe”, through the Natural Building Alliance website, or by mailing a good ol’ fashioned check.  Tickets are also available through Eventbrite on our Natural Building Alliance Facebook page.  If you’re an existing NBA member, please email us for a discount coupon code.

We can wait to see you there!

Peace, Love, Straw, and Mud,

Your NBA Board

Call for proposals - 2021

We are seeking presentation and workshop proposals for the conference.  Click the link below for more information and proposal forms.  We plan to have several “breakout”presentations and/or discussions in the three rooms provided at the MARC, similar to our conferences in the past. This year, we also plan to have multiple on-site or off-site hands-on workshops, which could occur during the conference or perhaps a day before or after.


Here is an opportunity to step up and help us put on this conference. 

Vendor Benefits

Sponsor Benefits


Thursday Oct 14
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm


3:00 pm - 4:45 pm

Workshop: Open

3:00 pm - 4:45 pm

The Render Rainbow

3:45 pm - 4:45 pm

Water Harvesting Landscapes

6:00 pm - 7:30 pm


7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

5×5 Presentation

Friday Oct 15
8:00 am - 8:45 am


8:45 am - 9:45 am

Permaculture and Policy

10:00 am - 11:00 am

Hempcrete Installation Demo 1

10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Prefabricated Clay Panels

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Finish Plaster Demonstration

4:15 pm - 4:45 pm

BuildWell Source Renovations

4:45 pm - 5:00 pm

Group Photo

5:00 pm - 7:00 pm


7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

Movie Night

Saturday Oct 16
8:00 am - 8:45 am


10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Tadelakt Tile Making

11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Vernacular Wisdom

11:00 am - 12:00 pm

The Palletable Cobin

11:30 am - 12:00 pm

Book Signing, Vending, Networking

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


1:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Strawbale Plaster Prep

2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Air Sealing CR Office Tour

5:30 pm - 5:35 pm

Closing Remarks

5:35 pm - 7:00 pm


Sunday Oct 17
9:00 am - 12:00 pm

Home Tour

No event found!

Click here for an alternative schedule view.




6:00 pm - 7:30 pm


8:00 am - 8:45 am
Star Hall
Natural Building Alliance


12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Moab Art & Recreation Center
Natural Building Alliance

Group Photo

4:45 pm - 5:00 pm
Star Hall
Natural Building Alliance


5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Movie Night

7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Star Hall
Natural Building Alliance


8:00 am - 8:45 am
Star Hall
Natural Building Alliance


12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Moab Art & Recreation Center
Natural Building Alliance


5:35 pm - 7:00 pm

Home Tour

9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Natural Building Alliance

Click here for an alternative schedule view.


The Virginian Motel:  (435) 259-5951, 70 East 200 South 

Hotel Moab Downtown: (435) 259-7141, 182 S Main St (ask for Jasper) 

The Gonzo Inn: (435) 259-2515, 100 West 200 South

Alternatively, there are a plethora of other hotels and close-in camping options.  Remember that the conference will mostly take place at (or very close to) the Moab Arts and Recreation Center (MARC) at the intersection of 100 N and 100 E.

ATC Campground: (435) 355-0355, 1536 Mill Creek Drive


We encourage everyone to ride share if possible.  If you need a ride or have room in your vehicle to help transport someone, please use our Facebook 2021 RMNBC Lodging & Ride Share group to let others know that you would like to carpool.  This group is also available to coordinate with others who are looking to share lodging.

If you do not have Facebook or care not to use it, we have an alternative way to post your carpool and lodging needs and offers.  Click the button below to access our Lodging a Ride Share document.

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Book Event

General Admission Ticket $250

Cost for general admission to the conference.

Available Tickets: Unlimited
The General Admission Ticket ticket is sold out. You can try another ticket or another date.


  • Alex Burbidge
    Alex Burbidge

    Alex has been a natural builder in Moab for the past two decades. He has worked on many types of projects such as straw bale, standard construction, earthbag, and cob walls. He joined the Community Rebuilds team in the Fall of 2017 and has been building straw bale homes ever since.

  • Andrew Austin

    Andrew Austin is the owner of Austin Solar, a solar photovoltaic installation company based in Moab, Utah. He is a Utah state licensed solar PV installation contractor and is a NABCEP certified PV Installation Professional.

  • Annie Murphy
    Annie Murphy

    Annie Murphy is a builder and educator based in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
    Annie’s interest in building was sparked after spending a winter in a beautiful but frigid stone house in Ottawa, Ontario. After studying sustainable building through the Endeavour Centre in Ontario, Canada, she has gone on to work for design-build companies from Ontario to the East Coast of Canada where she now resides. From natural, green and high-efficiency projects, she has developed a skill set specific to the demands of sustainable building in a northern climate.
    Her passion for education has lead her to direct and instruct both the Endeavour Centre’s Natural Building Intensive and YM Design Build School’s Natural Building Certificate, where she teaches construction skills with an emphasis on sustainability, social justice, and a healthy dose of humor too!

  • April Magill
    April Magill

    April attended Virginia Tech where she graduated with a BA in architecture. During her studies in Europe, she became inspired by the organic architecture of Gaudi and of the ancient world.

    Her desire to be surrounded by old, well-kept architecture led her to live and create in Charleston, South Carolina. Over the past 13 years, she has worked for three of Charleston’s architectural firms, became a licensed architect & project manager, and in 2011 embarked on her own by starting Root Down Designs.
    Recognizing that an architect can not exist only in the world of theory, she began to explore materials not just in books but also with her hands. As she continued to experiment with building materials in the Carolinas, she also began to travel the world in search of ancient earthen building techniques still in use today and learn the principles of permaculture.

    April is a leading voice in the advancements of Alternative, Natural, & Healthy building methods and has been a pioneer in the advancement of alternative building methods in the southeast. She has worked with multiple building jurisdictions in helping clients obtain building permits for alternative materials. She has successfully obtained permits for multiple rammed earth projects, compressed earth block, and hybrid methods. April’s conventional background allows her to excel in Project Management and she has led large teams through the conception of an idea through to the completion of a project, with the client’s budget always at the forefront of every project. April’s diversity of project types extend from back yard yoga huts to small homes to custom residential to large commercial Eco-Resorts. Whether the materials are conventional or alternative, April helps clients define their true project goals and deliver a project based on their individual needs.

    April believes that education is a key component to Regenerative Architecture; April has led over 3 dozen community-building workshops and courses, is an Adjunct Professor for the American College of Building Arts, and is a keynote speaker and presenter to many organizations and universities. Her passion for engaging with communities and involving people in the process of building is essential to Affordable Housing, which is an issue April is very passionate about. She is a true visionary for resilient and healthy buildings for the future and for the future of a healthy planet. Most recently, April has co-founded a new 501c3 called the WE BUILD Foundation, meant to empower women-centered building teams and progress the use of alternative & healthy building materials.

  • August Hasz
    August Hasz

    J. August Hasz P.E., President and Principal Engineer for Resource Engineering Group. August has overall responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the company, oversight of all scopes of work REG provides and detailed engineering including mechanical system design, structural systems, energy auditing, commissioning for new and existing buildings, building simulation, and solar energy analysis. August’s engineering mastery, creative attitude, and an innate sense for completing complex projects on time and budget have allowed him to compile an impressive track record of successful projects at REG over the course of two decades. His project experience includes: two Net Zero Energy affordable housing neighborhoods, a long list of Community Rebuilds projects, passive heating and cooling strategies, active solar thermal and solar electric systems, ground source heat pumps, and radiant cooling systems. His past experience includes fundamental research into glass and ceramic materials, water pump design, and water and wastewater plant operation.

    August has presented at the International Strawbale Association conference, Colorado AIA chapter annual meeting, Solar Energy International courses, and Western Colorado University. He has also earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Glass Engineering Science from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, with honors. He is LEED accredited, NCEES registered, and a member of ASHRAE. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in Colorado, California, Massachusetts, Montana, New York, New Jersey, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Wyoming.

  • Brad Lancaster
    Brad Lancaster

    Brad Lancaster is the author of the award-winning Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond and co-founder of DesertHarvesters.org. Since 1993 Brad has run a successful permaculture education, design, and consultation business focused on integrated regenerative approaches to landscape design, planning, and living. In the Sonoran Desert, with just 11 inches of annual rainfall, he and his brother harvest about 100,000 gallons of rainwater a year on an eighth-acre urban lot and adjoining right-of-way. This harvested water is then turned into living air conditioners of food-bearing shade trees, abundant gardens, and a thriving landscape incorporating wildlife habitat, beauty, medicinal plants, and more. The goal of his book series and overall work is to empower his clients and community to make positive change in their own lives and neighborhoods—by harvesting and enhancing free on-site resources such as water, sun, wind, shade, community, and more. It’s catching on, as evidenced by tens of thousands of practitioners and demand for Brad’s work around the world.

  • Bruce King
    Bruce King

    Bruce King is the author of “The New Carbon Architecture”, and has been a structural engineer for 40 years, designing buildings of every size and type around the world, from Port-au-Prince to Palo Alto. He is also the author of the ASTM international building standard for earthen construction, as well as the books “Buildings of Earth and Straw”, “Making Better Concrete”, and “Design of Straw Bale Buildings”.
    Bruce is also the Founder and Director of the Ecological Building Network (EBNet), a non-profit information resource that sponsors the BuildWell Source (buildwellsource.org), an online library of low-carbon and carbon-storing materials.

  • Catherine Wanek
    Catherine Wanek

    Catherine Wanek is the author and photographer of the books The New Straw Bale Home and The Hybrid House, Designing with Sun, Wind, Water and Earth. She co-edited The Art of Natural Building (1999, 2nd edition 2015). She published and edited The Last Straw, the International Journal of Straw Bale and Natural Building (1998 – 2003) and has contributed articles and photographs to Su Casa Magazine, Communities, Permaculture Activist and Mother Earth News.

    She also produced the Building With Straw series of videos, A Straw Bale Workshop (1993), A Straw Bale Home Tour, and Straw Bale Code Testing, and Urban Permaculture (1999), and The Straw Bale Solution (1998).

    A founding member of Builders Without Borders (BWB), Catherine currently serves as BWB Co-director. In 2008. through BWB, she organized the construction of a natural building exhibit at the US Botanical Garden in Washington D.C. At her business the Black Range Lodge, in southwest New Mexico, she organized the first Natural Building Colloquium in 1995 and the 20th anniversary of the NBC in 2015, as well as annual BWB hands-on workshops and events.

  • Cheryl Corsiglia
    Cheryl Corsiglia

    Coming from a lineage of builders, with a grandfather who started his own home building company in Florida, Cheryl had an early education in carpentry and tool use from her father. After a degree in Environmental Science sparked her passion for finding the best way to make the world healthier and to live more sustainably, she headed to Moab to work on an organic vegetable farm. While there, she discovered natural building, and got started in the construction industry, interning with Community Rebuilds and building her first straw bale home for a low income family in 2010. She followed this up with a six week Adobe and Earthen Building course in Nicaragua in 2014. Returning to Colorado, she worked briefly for Artesano plaster, plastering a straw bale home and meeting her business partners with whom she would eventually found Living Craft Design Build. Living Craft aims to meet the needs of urban homeowners and businesses in the Front Range of Colorado, providing low carbon and natural solutions while incorporating advances from modern building science. Cheryl joined the board of the Colorado Straw Bale Association, now the Natural Building Alliance, in 2016. She has also been an active member of Common Earth since 2014.

  • Chris Magwood
    Chris Magwood

    Chris Magwood of the Endeavour Centre, and Builders for Climate Action will Keynote our 2020 Conference! If ya don’t know already, Mr. Magwood is an expert in low-embodied energy, carbon-capture construction, and a pillar of the international natural building community.

  • Dan Chiras
    Dan Chiras

    I’m an author of numerous books on green building, natural building, solar energy, sustainable living, self-sufficiency. I recently published two books on Chinese greenhouses and have built my own CG out rammed earth tires

  • Darleen Green
    Darleen Green

    Darlene Green is a sustainable community developer and director or the Rocky Mountain Sustainability Center. Darlene has worked for the past two decades advocating and supporting Low Impact Sustainable Development and EcoVillage communities globally with specific emphasis on zoning and code.

  • Dave Kaplan
    Dave Kaplan

    Dave is the General Manager at Elevated Design Build, a full-service design, and construction company located in Fort Collins, CO specializing in heavy timber construction and green building practices. Dave has an architecture degree from the University of Washington and has been involved in over 500 projects throughout his career, including a number incorporating straw bale and other natural building techniques. While the craft of timber framing is his passion, he won’t pass up an opportunity to get muddy.

  • Doug Nichols
    Doug Nichols

    Doug has been a natural builder of over 20 years and currently serves as the lead instructor and contractor for Community Rebuilds. Fall 2013-present.

  • Ed Shure
    Ed Shure

    Architect/ Builder Ed Shure has nearly always known that he would follow a career that allowed him to make practical, beautiful things. To that end, he studied fine art and mechanical engineering and completed a machinist certification program. Until a working visit to Scandinavia in the early 1980′s revealed to him his true calling, Ed worked variously as an apprentice toolmaker in Kawasaki, Japan, mold maker in Hong Kong and Harley Davidson mechanic.

    Since beginning his design/build practice in 1984, Ed has completed over 150 structures, many of his own design. He is a past president of the International Log Builders Association, was an editorial advisor for Log Home Guide Magazine and has taught, lectured and demonstrated his innovative techniques in timber and log construction for the Timber Framers Guild of North America. He encourages clients to build site-specific, ecologically sound structures using renewable wood sources and reclaimed salvaged materials whenever possible.

  • Emily Niehaus
    Emily Niehaus

    Currently the Mayor of Moab, Emily is the founder of Community Rebuilds. She is proud of the accomplishments of the organization and interested in the pursuit of shifting the construction paradigm to be inclusive and regenerative (I have attached her photo)
    Reid’s bio: Reid Saunders is a planner and builder with Community Rebuilds, an affordable strawbale home builder in Moab Utah. She came to CR as an AmeriCorps VISTA to help find more development opportunities and manage CR’s Living Building Challenge certification. With a background in Urban Planning and Historic Preservation, Reid is interested in low impact use of materials and building practices that honor the cultural and natural resources of the planet.

  • Frank Wetenkamp
    Frank Wetenkamp

    Frank started working as a carpenter in the late 1990s, while in high school. He graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in Civil Engineering and a minor in Architectural studies. Later, he worked as a field engineer for a bridge and road construction company. A Natural Building Intensive course at Yestermorrow Design Build School in Vermont set him up for a move to Colorado and an apprenticeship under Ryan Chivers of Artesano Plasters. Frank is now a guest instructor with Tiny Hemp Houses, Yestermorrow, and Community Rebuilds.

  • Ian Smith
    Ian Smith
    NBA - Executive Director

    Ian has been on the NBA (COSBA) Board since 2005 and was named Interim Director in 2016, and then Director in 2018. He grew up landscaping and harvesting hay with the family business back east, then came to CU Boulder for an engineering degree. After graduating in 2002, he served as a team member on one of the very first Engineers Without Borders projects in Haiti and found a job in the natural building world that he quickly fell in love with. Ian has been a licensed engineer since 2008 and a husband since 2011, when he and his wife spent part of their honeymoon studying earthen arches in Auroville, India. Ian, his wife, and their daughter have recently built a strawbale house in Boulder, CO.


  • Jared 'Cappie' Capp
    Jared 'Cappie' Capp

    Owner of Pangea Design Group and Black Hills Homestead, star of Building Off the Grid: Spearfish Canyon (as seen on Discovery Channel).

    I have been an active builder, designer, artist, and metalworker most of my adult life. Born and raised in Spearfish, SD, upon graduation I enlisted in the US Air Force, which took me around the world as a C-130 Loadmaster. The broad range of design and construction techniques seen in my travels over the years, specifically with natural, local, and recycled materials, has influenced me a great deal.

    I currently work with clients on design/build projects that range from treehouses to commercial properties. My goals in the building community include: to increase the quality of life for my clients and the following generations that live in the space; to legitimize local, natural, and recycled materials and building practices as a viable alternative in the eyes of clients, architects, engineers, professional builders, and code officials; reduce or eliminate ongoing costs for utilities and maintenance.

  • Jason Pronovost
    Jason Pronovost

    Jason got involved with Natural building in 2010 learning from others in both California and Utah. A lot of which began as he completed a permaculture design course at the Regenerative Design Institute in California. Jason returned to RDI to complete a work trade internship, where he gained first-hand experience with gravity fed water systems, earthworks, composting toilets, food forests and the like. Returning to Utah he completed a foundation to finish straw bale internship with Community Rebuilds in 2012. From there he continued working in building with owner builders and became his own owner-builder in 2016. Completing his home with the help of fellow Community Rebuilds alumni and his father. In 2017 he became an instructor with Community Rebuilds

  • Jeff Adams
    Jeff Adams

    Jeff Adams owns and operates the ecological design consulting and landscape contracting firm TerraSophia LLC, is director of the Canyonlands Watershed Council, and serves on the board for the Resiliency Hub. Jeff designs, builds, and educates about integrated watershed management strategies in both urban and wildland contexts using permaculture. He lives in Moab, UT with his fiancé Claire and daughter Hazel.

  • Jeff Ruppert
    Jeff Ruppert

    Natural building and renewable energy have been at the forefront of Jeff’s career for more than 23 years (as of 2019). Jeff has been in the construction trades his entire adult life and even as far back to his high school days when he worked on his father’s construction sites.

    Jeff was one of the founders of StrawCrafters, a design-build construction company in Boulder, Colorado that made a huge regional impact on bale construction in the late 90’s. Jeff has been a licensed Professional Engineer since 1998 and has had a consulting business called Odisea since early 2000. He acted as a general contractor on a dozen straw bale homes in the rocky mountain region and also as a sub-contractor building bale walls for contractors and owner-builders in the early 2000’s. In 2006 he was the general contractor on the largest bale building in the U.S. at the time near Carbondale, CO (20,000+ sf). He has contributed to bale wall code development and performed structural testing of bale walls, contributing a small block of work that advanced bale-building as a more acceptable building technology. He is currently collaborating on a book about bale wall framing with a few close friends, which he hopes to eventually finish.

    Jeff edited and published The Last Straw, the International Journal of Straw Bale and Natural Building from 2013 to 2016.

    Jeff currently works part-time as CEO of SEI Professional Services (SEIPS), a for profit engineering spin-off of Solar Energy International. SEIPS designs, inspects and commissions solar projects around the world from residential to utility scale. SEIPS was named the 38th largest solar company in the U.S. in 2017 by Solar Power World through it’s participating on over 72 MW of solar projects during that year. Being able to contribute to the “solarization” of the world on such a large scale is extremely exciting and makes for a very rewarding balance of projects and work-flow in Jeff’s professional life.

    Spending time on the river with his family on a raft with or without a fishing rod in-hand, skiing, biking and generally being outdoors with friends and family all contribute greatly to Jeff’s happiness and sanity.

  • Jessica Manderfield
    Jessica Manderfield

    After working on small natural building projects and permaculture farms between 2010 and 2013 internationally. Jessica decided she wanted to get a more in-depth knowledge of straw bale construction. She interned with Community Rebuilds in 2014 and hasn’t looked back. Working as an apprentice and assistant builder for them before switching over into the office as Program Director.

  • Johnny Rezvani
    Johnny Rezvani

    Johnny began his career in sustainability in 2009 when he became involved in co-authoring the first Climate Action Plan for The Evergreen State College in Washington State. He collaborated community-scale sustainability plans in the Pacific Northwest before moving to New York City and catching the Passive House bug, joining 475 High Performance Building Supply as it was first beginning. He holds a degree in Sustainability Planning from The Evergreen State College and a Masters of Science degree from The City College of New York’s Sustainability in the Urban Environment program. Johnny is a Certified Passive House Consultant and a life-long music lover, spending few years of his twenties as a full-time touring musician.

  • Kaki Hunter
    Kaki Hunter

    Kaki Hunter and Doni Kiffmeyer are the authors of Earthbag Building; The
    Tools, Tricks, and Techniques. They have lived in Moab for over 35 years. They have been
    learning and teaching natural building techniques for 28 of them.
    They specialize in sculpted earthen and lime plasters, cob, adobe floors, light clay straw and
    earthbag building systems. Their natural building exploits have taken them to the Bahamas,
    Belize, Jamaica, Ontario, upstate New York, Washington DC and throughout the Southwest

  • Kenner Kingston
    Kenner Kingston

    Kenner Kingston is an architect and the President of Architectural Nexus, a practice reaching throughout the western United States. Kenner believes that architecture is about reestablishing the harmonious relationship between people and the natural environment. By blending architecture and social science he has led the effort on several of the region’s most sustainable projects including a subdivision of straw bale homes in Moab, which are the first projects in Utah to pursue the Living Building Challenge.

  • Lisa Morey
    Lisa Morey

    Lisa Morey is a professional engineer and architectural designer with over 16 years of experience in management, design, and construction, with a background in adobe brick construction. She is an author of “Adobe Homes for all Climates”, a book on how to build with adobe bricks. Lisa also holds a patent on an innovative building system that incorporates reinforcement and scaffolding into the adobe brick wall system.

    Currently Lisa is Co-Founder of Colorado Earth LLC, based in Golden, Colorado. Colorado Earth manufacturers compressed earth blocks and adobe bricks, carries out design and engineering services, and constructs earthen walls. Lisa is dedicated to the promotion and realization of natural building.

  • Lola Ben-Alon
    Lola Ben-Alon

    Lola Ben-Alon is an engineer, curator, and Ph.D. candidate at the at the
    Architecture, Engineering and Construction Management (AECM) Program at Carnegie
    Mellon University. She specializes in socially and environmentally sustainable building
    practices, natural building materials, and engineering-architecture collaborations.
    She has earned her BS in Structural Engineering and MS in Construction Management, both
    cum laude, from the Civil and Environmental Engineering program at the Technion, Israel
    Institute of Technology. Her doctoral research deals with Life Cycle Assessments (LCA),
    perception, and building policy of earthen construction.
    Parallel to her engineering background, Lola has earned a diploma in Critical and Curatorial
    Studies at the Technion, where she has co-founded art.espionage, the Experimental Art and
    Architecture Lab. She has exhibited various interactive urban interventions, public art, and
    performance art in museums and galleries around the world, including the Shanghai Biennale
    Gallery and Tel-Aviv Art Museum. She has also served as a curator and content developer at
    the Madatech, Israel National Museum of Science, Technology, and Space.
    Lola is passionate about fostering connections between academia and community, by
    promoting social engagement in the production of the built environment. She is the academic
    advisor of the TERRA Collaborative, an all-women organization that provides hands-on
    natural building training for women and youth in developing communities. Through sharing
    skills and knowledge that promote healthy and affordable living environments, Lola hopes to
    diversify the building industry and to catalyze new intersections and creative dialogues among
    the various disciplines of architecture, engineering, art, and sociology.

  • Mark Jensen
    Mark Jensen

    Mark Jensen has spent the last two decades building and teaching others the ins and outs of straw bale construction, healthy building material choices, and renewable energy options. He worked as the Construction Program Director for the nonprofit Red Feather Development Group for nine years on Indian Reservations throughout the west; teaching volunteers and tribal members every step of construction as they built a home for a local tribal family. Mark’s ability to teach others has also taken him to Kenya and most recently Nepal to teach straw bale construction as a form of safe, healthy and affordable housing.

    It is very important for Mark to continue to give back to the communities that are an integral part of his life and that have given him so much. Annually Mark makes several pro bono trips to reservations in the west offering up his skills to better other people’s living conditions. Mark recently served on the Board of Directors for US Green Building Council’s Montana Chapter.

  • Mark Schuedeman
    Mark Schuedeman

    Mark was raised in the Midwest, schooled in Ohio at the University of Dayton and paid for his schooling pouring concrete in the summers. He stuck with the concrete after moving to Colorado in ’73 and began a successful flatwork business in Boulder in ’82, selling the business in ’04. Natural building became a focus in ’99 and after his retirement became Executive Director of the Colorado Straw Bale Association 2003-2006. With COSBA Mark had an opportunity to work with Engineers Without Borders, train/teach Natural Building practices to students at the University of Colorado and trained indigenous people on several reservations throughout the western US and Mexico. Mark is now an avid gardener and can often be seen fly-fishing the many streams in Colorado. He is retired now and living in the straw bale and earthen plaster home he built north of Boulder.

  • Miguel Elliott
    Miguel Elliott

    Miguel Elliott was knighted as “Sir Cobalot” nearly 10 ago once it became cobvious that he was cobcessed enough to develop his own vocabulary. He has been operating his business/service Living Earth Structures based out of the Bay Area full time and has traveled extensively participating and leading workshops. He has published a book of accomplishments and lists the 50 reasons why we should cob.

  • Reid Saunders
    Reid Saunders

    Reid is in her third year as an AmeriCorps member. She joined CR after a year in West Virginia restoring buildings. She is excited to now serve with CR planning for future homes and helping design some of the most sustainable buildings in the world. September 2018 – present.

  • Rikki Epperson
    Rikki Epperson

    Rikki Epperson lives in Moab, Utah and loves hiking near the desert creeks with her pup ‘Henrietta’. Rikki has served on several boards; Moab Arts & Recreation Center, Canyonlands Community Recycling, Community Rebuilds, and Wabi Sabi Thriftstore. She is thrilled to be a part of the Natural Building Alliance board team! Rikki was introduced to natural building in 2012 when she served as chair of Community Rebuilds’ board of directors. In 2015 she took the position of Community Rebuilds program director. During her term as program director, 2015 to 2018, Community Rebuilds built 24 straw bale houses with low income households and educated nearly 200 building interns. In January of 2019 Rikki accepted the executive director position with Community Rebuilds. She is currently building a straw bale accessory dwelling that she will move into in the Fall of 2019.

  • Ryan Chivers
    Ryan Chivers

    At 19, Ryan Chivers began working in a relative’s drywall finishing company in his hometown of Salt Lake City until he moved to Colorado in search of more eco-friendly building methods.

    Frustrated by the standard practice of finishing straw-bale homes with spray-on cement stucco and latex-painted drywall, he became obsessed with the potential of earth and lime-based plasters. Through trial and error and with intrepid, faithful clients, he researched, tested, and revived this ancient technology, which is now in common practice for straw-bale structures in the western United States.

    Ryan’s focus sharpened to development of lime as a high-end decorative finish. He observed that importation of European lime-based plasters at high cost was the norm, and he endeavored to source local materials that could also be applied over drywall.

    The early days of the internet allowed Ryan to discover the polished, waterproof, and ancient Moroccan Tadelakt, the ultimate in lime plasters. He scoured the resources available, which were mostly in French and German, and eventually journeyed to Marrakech for training in their traditional techniques.

    Ryan was determined to achieve a similar finish with North American materials, experimenting with hydrated lime and limestone/marble mixtures. The correct ratios resulted in chemistry closely related to the Moroccan lime, and he became a busy craftsman and employer adept in the technique.

    Ryan’s sought-after skillset led him to Mexico, where he taught a group of local artisans the Tadelakt technique and learned that lime-based materials could be found in the area; in fact, this elemental material could be found almost anywhere. Using locally sourced lime at every location, he has since shared this knowledge across the U.S. and Canada, and as far afield as Colombia, Costa Rica, and New Zealand.

    Making plasters from scratch isn’t for everyone, and Ryan’s dream to make available a line of high-quality lime products that were affordable and local came to fruition when he returned to Utah. Colleague Stan Petersen had collaborated with Hess Pumice to create a lime-pumice plaster, LimeStrong. Ryan utilized the locally sourced pumice to formulate and add interior products to create the LimeStrong Artisan line, playing a key role in the product’s development, promotion, and technical support. Ryan also manages a thriving plaster-application business in Salt Lake City and continues to train plaster artisans across the world.

  • Steve Farmer
    Steve Farmer

    Steve Farmer has been a lifelong sunseeker and student of natural phenomena. He has experienced a wide range of living environments and has undertaken many of the building trades to further his understanding of building methods, with a particular emphasis on solar thermal processes and their relationship to energy efficiency and vitality of living structures.

  • Timbo Scursso
    Timbo Scursso

    Timbo celebrates modest materials, energy efficiency, and finely-crafted details. He has a relentless passion for simple design and alternative construction methods juxtaposed against modern aesthetics and utilitarian amenities. In 2002, he founded Solarwise – Design/Build and has been specializing in the design and building of straw bale structures. Recently, he has become a Certified Passive House Tradesperson.

    As a conference attendee, member, workshop host or now board member, Timbo has been involved with the Colorado Straw Bale Association (COSBA) for over fifteen years. With the broadening of COSBA’s mission beyond Colorado and including all-natural building techniques, Timbo is proud to be part of the new Natural Building Alliance.


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