Eco Warriors
A Tree House for Butterfly!
-By Rani Iyer

The famous redwood trees, with their large girth and appealing height are known the world over. California is home to several patches of old growth redwood forests. As the name implies, these trees are old, large, and rare. The demand for timber and paper wiped out a large area. Still, the company that owned the area decided to log the forests.
Julia Hill changed all that. A native of Arkansas, she suffered a brain injury in a car crash. That made her realize that life was a gift and could be used to serve others. Julia was determined to do the very least she could to preserve the beautiful trees. It was in Stafford community, about 230 miles north of San Francisco, when the chain saws were readied for a tree that Julia decided to act.

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Quietly, on December 10 1997, Julia Hill climbed a thousand year old redwood tree vowing not to come down until it was saved from being cut. "Here I can be the voice and face of this tree and the whole forest that cannot speak for itself," she said. The giant redwood tree was named Luna.
Located 200 feet off the ground, living in the tree house was challenging. She had to live in a tent on two six-by-six foot platforms. Julia soon learnt the challenges of living on the canopy of a redwood tree. The tree was aggressively vertical, and gravity pulled her whenever she moved. Julia soon learnt that the condition on the canopy of the costal forest was harsh. It was always cold and damp. Luna's trunk was Julia's walking trails and exercise treadmill. Her company was mostly the wildlife inhabitants sometimes friend joined her vigil. She wrote poetry, and spoke to people over her cell phone. At night she used candles. In the canopy of the tree, Julia cooked and shared her food with flying squirrels. Twice a week five of her friends came to give her stove fuel, grocery, and cell phone batteries, and hauled away her waste.
The logging company tried various methods to get her out of the tree. Julia held on and lived on Luna for 738 days. What did she achieve? The company decided to spare Luna and other giant trees for a sum of money and leave the forest alone for another thousand years. Luna got a 600- foot buffer zone. On December 18, 1999 Julia descended from the tree.
Affectionately called "Butterfly", Julia Hill, only 25 years old, showed that it took the commitment of a single individual to change the course of destruction.




User's Comments                     
Misty Starbuck
Wow thats incredible!!!! How did you ever stay up there for 2 years? You are truly inspiring!!!
Molly
Julia, you are simply incredible. I remember hearing of you when I was younger, but still today you are truly an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your courage and strength with Luna and the rest of the world. It only takes one person to make a difference.
haley johnson
Julia, My name is Haley Johnson and I am 13 years old. You truly inspired me when I heared of the incredible thing you did. You are my hero. When I tell people to save the trees they look at me like I'm nuts. Thank you for inspiring. You are truly a great person
tina
Hi Julia, you're an inspiration to me. I never looked at the earth in such a way until after I saw your movie "butterfly". I have 5 children under the age of 11 and I hope they all have the same determination for their beliefs as you do in yours. I never have travelled further than southern California and you make me want to travel up north to visit Luna. I think you're great. Keep up your strength and keep fighting for what you beleive in. Tina
Roy Maita
Back in the 80's I saw these big friends for the very 1st time, native from Venezuela, this was magical moment for me, since then I have visited them couple of more times and I just think what she did it is just great and I feel full of ideas to work.
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