#102: Julia Butterfly Hill

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julia butterfly hill in a tree(The photo is of Julia Butterfly Hill, a youngish dark haired woman, sitting in a large tree and hugging it.)

Environmental activist Julia Butterfly Hill was born in 1974 in Arkansas. Her father was a preacher and she grew up poor. Julia went to college, studied business, and opened a restaurant at the age of 20.

In 1996, Julia was in a serious car accident, resulting in a mild brain injury. After the accident, Julia went on what has been described as a "spiritual quest." She intended originally to go to the Far East, but never made it farther than the West Coast. Once she was on the West Coast, she learned about the destruction of old growth redwood forests and decided to do something about it.

On December 10, 1997, Julia climbed into a large redwood she called Luna, staging a tree sit-in. Supported by Earth First!, Julia broke all records, engaging in her protest for 738 days without once touching the ground. Before agreeing to come down, Julia struck a deal with the tree's owner, Pacific Lumber/Maxxam Corporation, that it would not be cut down and that a three-acre buffer zone around it would be preserved. As part of the deal, $50,000 earned by Julia and Earth First! was paid to the corporation, which then donated it to a local university for the study of sustainable forestry.

After her time in Luna, Julia continued to agitate for the environment, helping found the Circle of Life Foundation in 1999. In 2003, she organized a "We the Planet" tour, featuring musicians, artists, and speakers traveling around the country to promote environmental sustainability.

Julia has written one book, The Legacy of Luna, and co-authored another, One Makes a Difference. She has also been the subject of two documentaries, Butterfly (2000) and Tree Sit: The Art of Resistance (2005).

Ecology Hall of Fame
Collage Foundation


Julia "Butterfly" Hill is one of the most courageous and noble people I have ever met. She's one of my favorite "personal heros" on this beautiful Earth... What a sweet soul, and what a natural-born leader. ONE PERSON REALLY CAN MAKE A DIFFERNCE!

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