Natural Builders Colloquium SE 2018

May 7 – 13, 2018

 Colibri Natural Builders and Highland Lake Cove are collaborating to bring you the first Southeast Natural Building Colloquium

Personal Invitation

You have been selected for an invitation only event – the Natural Builders Colloquium in May 2018 near Asheville, NC. We are very excited to be preparing for the first ever Southeastern Natural Building Colloquium this coming spring. If you know any other practicing natural builders who would be interested in this event (especially those in the southeast), please send this invitation along to them. You can also share their name with us when you fill out the registration form and we’ll add them to our list. This is a great opportunity to build the movement and share our knowledge of Natural Building.

Colloquium Intentions

This is a chance for those of us involved in the natural building movement and profession to gather to discuss, share current knowledge, and practice the latest techniques, new technologies, and experiences in natural building. We have the capacity to host up to 150 people, so let’s make this gathering one to remember. This is a great chance for this region to regain momentum in this natural building community. This gathering is a family friendly event. The Colloquium will also include opportunities for hands-on participation in a number of building and demonstration projects.

Bring Something to Share

We would like to organize and support you by offering presentation and demonstration areas for anything you would like to do with the group. Experience levels will vary but we feel everyone has something to share. Stories of experiences, projects details, slideshows, and hands-on demonstrations are all workable ways to share… whatever appeals to you to showcase your special interest & experiences. Please give details about anything you’d like to share when you fill out the registration form below. 

The Gathering

There will be a variety of spaces to support a daily schedule of presentations, demonstrations, and gathering activities… including plenty of outdoor spaces to set up project demonstration areas (see info on the venue below). We can also have demonstration spaces prepared before the Colloquium so that we can plug into whichever stages of building we would like to focus on during the week.  Write to us with your ideas when you fill out the registration form below, and we will do our best to accommodate your requests. Meals will be catered for the week with locally sourced vegetarian ingredients with gluten free & vegan options.  


The Venue ~ Welcome to Highland Lake Cove

The Cove is a retreat community comprised of artistic water front cabins, garden cottages and excellent meeting facilities – it is a wonderful place for both personal and group retreats. Here, you will be sustained by the natural beauty of the land, the garden-centered cuisine and the stewardship of a teaching/learning community dedicated to the awakening and full blossoming of the human spirit.

While many people come to the Cove for a restorative retreat, workshop or a learning vacation; part of the draw for coming here is just to experience the eclectic designs and unbounded creativity of the various workshop groups and individuals that created many of the cabins and structures on the property. This facility will provide wonderful accommodations for our Colloquium and plenty of space to gather, eat, and share with one another.

The 58 acres we call home includes a small working farm, gardens, walking trails, a 30-acre lake with canoes, private meeting facilities, and a waterfront event center. Accommodations range from camping and camp cabins to well-appointed 2 and 3 BR cottages. Whether on the water or overlooking the goats and gardens, we bring nature to your front porch.


Location: Flat Rock NC  

Highland Lake Cove is located in Flat Rock NC in the Southern Appalachian mountains of North Carolina. Located 25 mins south of Asheville, near the Blue Ridge Parkway, near other natural attractions such as Pisgah National Forest and DuPont State Park.  


The Cove’s Relationship with Natural Building and Unconventional Construction

A 4-month women’s building apprenticeship occurred at the Cove in 2012 where 12 woman built a 16’ x 12’ Slip Straw cabin. Since then other small projects have been completed with natural building methods of construction for demonstration purposes. There are also a few tiny houses (foundation and wheels) on site that people have created on this land.  


Click on the Photos in the Gallery for More:

Dates & Schedule

We will gather at the Cove on Monday, May 7th and begin the festivities with dinner at 6 pm, followed by introductions. The following 4 days (T-F) will be packed with hands-on demonstrations, presentations, and facilitated discussions on topics of interest to experienced natural building practitioners. On Saturday the 12th, we will open up the space to the general public for a day-long Natural Building Open House (more info below). Sunday the 13th will be a day of closure and good-byes; the last group meal will be brunch.


Saturday’s Public Open House Event:

Towards the end of our week together we plan to invite the public to come share in our creative gathering.  

This is a perfect opportunity for you to display marketing information, books, items to sell, or any other material to promote during this event. (Think pop up tent/ canopy and table space.) Please let us know if you are interested in doing this.

Demonstrations and presentations will continue on this day as well so if you are interested in presenting to the public as well as to other builders, please let us know.

Lodging at Highland Lake Cove


RVs and Campers are welcome. Camping is encouraged and is included in the event price. There are designated camping sites in forested and open areas.

Shared camping cabins are available for an additional cost. The cabins contain between 2 and 4 twin beds each as well as linens for your visit. 

We also have other indoor accommodations, both on the property or nearby. Please email for more information or to reserve lodging on the property. 

Ample camping is available in forested and open areas.

Event Pricing

We have aimed to keep the Colloquium cost as low as possible. It is important to us that everyone feels inspired and cared for during the week. The cost includes healthy, home-cooked meals for 7 days and participation in all scheduled events. All meals will be catered for the week with locally sourced vegetarian ingredients with gluten free and vegan options.

Camping is also included in the event price if you would like to bring a tent or camper. We will have rooms and cabins available for additional charge. (For more information on lodging options, please see the section above on lodging or email.)

All participants are strongly encouraged to attend the entire Colloquium. This creates more opportunities for community building and reduces the strain on organizers and facilities. Therefore, we do not offer a reduced fee for part-time attendance. 

Children (12 and under) are welcome to join in at a discounted rate. (We will not provide organized child care, but will encourage and assist parents in organizing age-appropriate activities.)

Please note that all registrations must be received no later than April 20th, 2018. Early Bird Fee applies only to those whose registration and fee is received by Feburary 1st, and will raise to the regular rate of $500 per person after February 1st.

Early Bird Rate (now until February 1st):  

  • $400 per person
  • $100 per child (age12 and under)

Regular Rate (Feburary 1st – May 12th): 

  • $500 per person  
  • $100 per child (age 12 and under)

Limited work trade positions available for:

  • Demonstration project set-up and finishing  
  • Kitchen meal prep and clean up
  • Presentation tech for slide shows
  • Email Kelley Adair to inquire about work trade positions


Once you fill out and submit the registration form, we’ll email you a link to pay the colloquium fee using PayPal, where you can pay with a debit or credit card, or a PayPal account. You can also mail a check.

Cancellation policy:

Full refunds are available for any cancellations before February 1st, 2018, minus a $30 non-refundable reservation fee. Fifty percent refunds are available between February 2nd and March 15th, minus a $30 non-refundable reservation fee. Any cancellations after March 15th will not receive a refund.

Fill out the form below to register for the colloquium:

    Photo Release: The Natural Building Colloquium is a significant gathering intended to advance natural building practices and knowledge. Video and photographic documentation will be a significant part of the event. Upon registration, we request your release and approval to use any images that may include your active participation in presentations and hands-on workshops. These images and video footage may be shared in the future for a variety of purposes to further advance natural building practices worldwide. In particular, we hope to create a series of short YouTube videos, and possibly a longer documentary on the history of the colloquia and the natural building revival.

    I allow photos and video of me to be used for purposes of advancing natural building. I understand that images may be used at any time in the future for documentary purposes and may be uploaded to various websites, publications and social media.I prefer for my image not to be included in any future publications or promotions.Other (please share details in the box below)

    Lodging Preference:

    Camping (Included in price)Cabins (Jana will contact you to complete reservation)Other/off property