Trillium Center Reuses Old Beach Tires

The Trillium Center is using tires from the beach in Conneaut harbor to build the foundation for a sunroom. Volunteers for the Conneaut-based organization will be in the mud pit on Saturday morning pulling tires from the shore. Thousands of new and used tires were illegally dumped in Lake Erie and are slowly surfacing on the beach, so the story goes.

The tires will be used to build the foundation of a sunroom that will be connected to a greenhouse. The project is an experiment in alternative building styles. The sunroom plan combines a timber frame with straw bale walls: essentially, it’s a pole barn with cellulose infill. But the tires add a twist. The foundation will be constructed with tires that are filled with dirt. The dirt is hand-pounded into the tires for stability. The straw bales will sit on top of the tires to finish the walls, then they will be coated with a mixture of clay, lime, cement and straw. A hoop-style greenhouse will be connected to the sunroom. The building is called the Seed House. A grant from the Pollination Project ( has made it possible for the Trillium Center to finish the sunroom.

Charles Schiavone, the experimental builder and volunteer EMT/firefighter, says, “We can find tires all over the place. I chose to pull them from the harbor to help clean up the beach. I mean, it’s right by the wildlife sanctuary.” He also mentions that the fire department has been down there to put burning tires out.

The Seed House will be used for drying and processing seeds, starting seeds, and propagating roots. The Trillium Center is a member of the United Plant Savers ( botanical sanctuary network. One of the goals is to preserve plants that are at-risk of becoming extinct, such as Goldenseal and Black Cohosh. The Trillium Center’s botanical sanctuary includes flower gardens, a spring ephemerals garden, and a developing medicinal plants garden and food forest. The center holds monthly plant walks led by Leah Wolfe, MPH. Wolfe is a community herbalist and she gives tours of the plants that are blooming each month sharing her experiences, folklore, history of use, and if they are edible, medicinal, or poisonous.

The Trillium Center is located at BLD farm on Furnace Road in Conneaut, Ohio. To learn more about their projects, see a schedule of events, or to make tax-deductible donation, go to or write to The Trillium Center is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas (, a non‐profit arts service organization.