The Natural Building School was founded in 2008 and has been hosting a variety of popular courses on Natural Building, Permaculture/Forest Gardening, and Appropriate Technologies. Return to the Forest strives to educate the world on sustainable building practices to complement the global movement in ecological living. Connecting participants with Mayan building experts, the school also holds space for sharing and applying indigenous knowledge to natural building.

Our local experts educate on making natural ropes and nets from the Maguey (Sisal) cactus, natural plasters using the Nopal (Prickly Pear) cactus and bajareque walls.  Incorporating these and other indigenous techniques, Return to the Forest develops new building techniques that incorporate Mayan building practices with international strategies: often using bamboo and adobe or bajareque on the same wall. A course with Return to the Forest will open your eyes to the vast range of natural building materials and techniques that provide reliable shelter for all climates.



Charlie Rendall has been building houses and landscaping gardens in San Marcos La Laguna, Guatemala for eight years. Read more>>


Monika Goforth is a rural development worker specializing in permaculture and community empowerment… Read more>>


Nathaniel Steinrueck Co-Founder Meiker, Nate has experience in sustainable construction read more>>

John Barrie is the Executive Director of the Appropriate Technology Collaborative, an award winning nonprofit company that designs low cost sustainable technologies Read more>>


Shad Qudsi Shad has over 13 years of organic gardening and farming experience. Read more>>

Rodolfo Puzul, native to Guatemala, is a trained carpenter and bamboo specialist. Read More>>

Francisco Mejillaa master electrician, master carpenter, and solar expert is involved in all projects related to solar installations. Read more>>



Vicente Cuk a local builder and site manager, has over ten years of building and teaching experience. Read more>>

About Bamboo

In recent years, Bamboo has found fame as a rapid-growth, renewable building material of exceptional versatility. Not only strong, lightweight, economical, flexible and abundant, its beauty as an architectural element is also being captured and experimented with in ever more extraordinary ways by a growing body of bamboo builders and creatives, who become positively religious in their attraction to this wonderful plant. For more information and resources click on: About Bamboo.