An Interview With Shelly Byrne From EarthJoy Tree Adventures

An Interview With Shelly Byrne From EarthJoy Tree Adventures

My family has experienced multiple adventures with EarthJoy Tree Adventures between guided tree climbs and overnight treehouse stays.

I love the heart and passion of EarthJoy Tree Adventures and I wanted to give you the opportunity to hear the “WHY” behind this adventure-based business from owner Shelly Byrne. 

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What is your business?

Earthjoy Tree Adventures rents out treehouse stays to get you closer to nature. Situated on 200 acres to explore and have the treehouse act as a base.

treehouse in Kentucky

There are sit spots throughout the property to rest and relax. The sit spots are hammocks, swings, and tree pods.

The take-along map inside the treehouse provides details to explore the themed maintained trails. Guests usually book a guided one of a kind tree climbs to go along with their treehouse adventures.

We host overnight weddings from elopement to the entire weekend. Couples can get married in a Treehouse or the woods. 

Pete Nelson Treehouse in Kentucky

What’s the story behind why you started your business?

When I was 40 I signed up with a coach that encouraged me to go on adventures again.

One adventure led to another and we ended up taking a tree climbing course in Atlanta, Georgia with Abe of Tree Climbing USA. We loved it so much we signed up for all the classes to enable us to teach it to others.

Shelly Byrne and her husband

We feel most alive outside.

My husband and I literally grew up in the woods.

I have wanted a treehouse since I was ten years old.

We both lived in the woods in the summer growing up and explored new areas every day. We would pretend we lived in treehouses. 

Raising our young girls we noticed the absence of local adventures where the adults could play too.

We knew, someday we wanted our own grove. We looked for 10 years. Then a miracle happened …

Adventure Mom climbing with EarthJoy Tree Adventures
Adventure Mom climbing with EarthJoy Tree Adventures

What was your first leap of faith when you started?

We were both working full time and raising a family. On our drive back from Atlanta we were inspired to bring tree climbing to greater Cincinnati and northern Kentucky.

We didn’t have the extra money to start a business so we bought one rope at a time until we could outfit 6 climbers.

The hardest thing was the $1200 upfront for liability insurance. Once we pulled that plug we started taking people up into the trees.

Adventure Mom climbing with EarthJoy Tree Adventures
Adventure Mom climbing with EarthJoy Tree Adventures

How has your business evolved over the years?

We had big breaks, along the way.

When we first started parks and communities were afraid of the liability of tree climbing.

Guided tree climb with EarthJoy Tree Adventures

I called Dennis Reller -the director of AJ Jolly at the time- and used my enthusiasm to convince him to let us utilize the park trees. 

We climbed at AJ for 10 years and spread into Dayton Ohio via, Tom Helbig then Ft Thomas via Debbie. We no longer climb at AJ as most of the climbs happen at Earthjoy in Germantown.

You can, however, schedule a climb in Dayton, and our other festival climbs in Ft Thomas, Augusta, and other places.  

We don’t forget these people that believed in us because so many didn’t. 

I followed up on every opportunity and it took hours of hard work and perseverance.

People from all over the world began to believe in us.

We taught students in Costa Rica at the Finca Bellavista treehouse resort. Our furthest students were from Korea.

We facilitated climbs in Newark, Ohio at the Dawes Arboretum and in Chicago at the Morton Arboretum.

To date, we have facilitated over 100,000 climbers into the trees.

 EarthJoy Tree Adventures Pete Nelson Treehouse

We had our biggest leap when Dad let us build our first treehouse on his farm and we were on animal planet. The show was such a hit it has played over 100 times!

We started to rent it out and decided to build a second treehouse with a tree in the middle of the living room and a swinging bridge out to a bedroom called the snuggle palace. 

My husband built the third treehouse with the help of his twin Bud – a chiropractor. 

This one is an actual playground with a slide and swings.

treehouse with a slide in Kentucky

What’s your favorite part of your business?

We get to meet and spend time with people from all over the world.

The creativity is endless and we get to be outside with nature!

Shelly Byrne with Pete Nelson

What’s the story behind working with Pete Nelson?

We knew Pete before he was famous. We took a treehouse workshop with him in 2009. 

Our good friend Jody Christiansen of tree climbing Ohio told us about him being on animal planet.

I applied and one thing led to another.

 Pete Nelson

It was one of the best times of our lives doing the build and creating the show with my Dad. This is part of his legacy. 

Mom and Dad found the gorgeous 200 acres of rolling hills back in the 1980s. 

The show tells all about the legacy. Dad was basically tired of running two farms since he has one closer in town. 

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We loved being with Pete and his crew. We took the time to go out with them and watched as he autographed the waitress’s napkins at de’Shas in Maysville. 

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Pete is exactly as he is on the show. 

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 Shelly Bryne

What’s been the most challenging part of your business?

Getting people to trust us. We are pioneers of tree climbing in this area. We had to lay down all the track. 

The work can be hard physically. 

Marketing takes as much time as doing the business.

hiking trail on property at EarthJoy Treehouses

What’s the most rewarding part of your business?

When a guest reaches out to us and tells us how the stay transformed them or sends us a picture of them out on the trails …it literally melts our hearts.

The fact that Earthjoy is a family legacy.

I love working side by side with my daughter Alex and Bill.

We inspire each other with our creative ideas. 

It’s rewarding to look around at the treehouses and property and know that we created it.

boy on guided tree climb with EarthJoy Tree Adventures

What ages can climb trees with you?

Ages 5 and up can climb with us. 

hiking trails near treehouse in Kentucky

Why should someone add an adventure with your business to their list?

It’s not just a treehouse stay. If you give yourself 3 days you will decompress.

If you need ideas we created nature invitations in the back of the Treehouse manual inside each treehouse.

Nature has high frequency and just hiking the trails will slow your nervous system down. Don’t be surprised if you get inspiring ideas. 

The tree climb is unique and fun.

People come in their minds and leave in their hearts 

EarthJoy Tree Adventures stain glass sign

How can someone connect with your business online?

 or (859)635-0320

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn 

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An Interview With Shelly Byrne From EarthJoy Tree Adventures

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