WholeTrees March 2019 Update


At WholeTrees, we innovate and we iterate. We develop new ways to do the unique work that we love doing and then we revisit, revise, and refine our designs.

Columbus Zoo: We recently updated our elephant shade design - both its aesthetic and structure. The first version, which you can find installed at Maryland Zoo, features a round timber roof on partially timber-wrapped steel columns. This structure gives the elephants a break from the sun while allowing the public continuous views as the elephants relax in the shade. For the Columbus Zoo, we updated this design to feature round timber beams and rafters with fully-wrapped steel support columns.  Let us know if your elephants, giraffes, or other animals need a shady place to rest.

Lake Olathe: WholeTrees in partnership with designs from Learning Landscapes crafted a beautiful playscape in Olathe, Kansas. From balance beams to a one-of-a-kind climbing tower, kids will  enjoy a deep connection with nature and the natural form of trees at the new park.

Sheridan Memorial: We are building beautiful nest structures, log steppers, and a large boardwalk for the Sheridan Memorial Park in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Designed by Damon Farber these play elements will tie together the large natural play area.

Philadelphia Zoo: The Philadelphia Zoo commissioned WholeTrees build and design a two-step climbing structure for two of the Zoo's western lowland gorillas. We are excited to add this structure to our portfolio.


Our new Westby production facility is churning out products as fast as we can measure twice and cut once.

Lakeridge Jr High: We used our 3D scanning technology to site-source trees for the school's rebuilding project. Removing trees from a project site to accommodate a new or expanding building can be a frustrating process but with WholeTrees, you can have those trees laser-scanned and rendered to incorporate them as structural elements in your new building. It is hard to get a more environmentally friendly and locally sourced structure than this. This scanning technology and our (beta) online Inventory Platform are the future of local supply chain management.

Lake Olathe: One advantage of building fun things is we get to test fun things, as you can see here as we test the new water table for the Lake Olathe playscape. Ask us about how you can connect trees, wood, and water in your next project.


We are working coast-to-coast to bring structural round timber to customers across the country. From Baltimore, Maryland to Skamania, Washington, our crew can install or supervise the installation of huge structures.

Skamania Lodge: Our recent installation supervision of an event space for the Skamania Lodge creates a direct connection between the stunning Columbia River Gorge and the built environment. We hope you can enjoy an event there or stop by for a visit the next time you are in the Northwest.  The vision for this pavilion came from Seattle's MG2 Architects

Pokagon Justice Center: Round timber beams connect the steel structure in the new Pokagon Justice Center in Dowagiac, Michigan. Seven Generations Architecture and Engineering brought this campus of Pokagon projects to WholeTrees, which includes a Health and Wellness Center, Gathering Pavilions, and the interior of the Justice Center.

Lake Olathe: The WholeTrees playscape at Lake Olathe will open soon. Stop by the Beaver Shelter this summer to climb, slide, and play.

R + D

Lakeridge Junior High School: We know you want to know more about site-sourcing trees using 3D scans. Lakeridge Junior High School in Lake Oswego, Oregon is a perfect example of the entire process. Using the arborist’s report prepared for the trees to be removed, WholeTrees identified trees likely to have the “good bones” we need for structural uses. We then 3D scanned those trees and refined the resulting point clouds into wire-mesh renderings. Mahlum Architects took those renderings and plugged them directly into their designs. WholeTrees coordinated the removal of the trees to ensure they were felled correctly and are ready for use. Next, we will then work with local fabrication partners to prepare the trees for installation.

The possibilities and opportunities this process creates are limited only by the trees on site and your imagination. We are happy to discuss how we can work with you to use site-sourced trees in your project.

Forest Products Laboratory Testing: Our successful application for a Phase II project with the USDA Small Business Innovation Research Program has allowed us to conduct the required testing to optimize grading for red pine and to expand to lodge pole pine. With the help of lead scientist, Tom Gorman, and the USDA Forest Products Laboratory, testing was completed in April 2019 to help finalize the official WholeTrees non-destructive evaluation (NDE) grading procedure. This allows us to divert more waste trees to higher margin applications and provide USFS lands increased economic incentive to manage overstocked woodlands. A pending USFS Wood Innovations Grant for 2019 would support the development of a Standard and Certification process for MSR graded logs.


Mass Timber Conference: Never content in one place, WholeTrees staff are frequently on the road spreading the word, finding new opportunities, and growing our networks. At the tail end of February, we had a great time in our hometown at the Wisconsin ASLA Spring Conference in Madison. In March, we headed west to bring round timber to the Washington ASLA Conference and the 4th Annual Mass Timber Conference in Portland, Oregon. At Mass Timber, we unveiled a new demo column which will be traveling with us across the country. Come find us at an event near you.  Are you eyeing that column like we are? Hugs are free!

Current Events in the Wood World and WholeTrees in the News

Timber Rises - Fortune Article
LIFT Economy Podcast
China’s Voracious Appetite for Timber

Did you hear? WholeTrees's CEO Amelia Baxter was interviewed on LIFT Economy's Next Economy Now podcast. Check it out to learn more about how WholeTrees is working to change the built environment and drive the mass timber movement with smart design, emotional intelligence, and trees! http://bit.ly/2FC4ffR

Building the Next Economy With WholeTrees- Amelia Baxter Envisions a Stronger Future for Forests and Communities