Julia Butterfly Hill: The Girl Who Lived in a Tree

"You want to interview the woman who lived in a tree?" I asked Marc when he told me Julia Butterfly Hill would be in Baltimore and available to talk with us. I admit I was skeptical. Of course I knew Julia’s story. From December 1997 to December 1999 she lived in a California Redwood Tree named Luna to keep loggers from cutting the tree down. Some people called her a crazy hippie, some people said she was an inspiration, while others believed she was breaking the law and should be prosecuted. But that happened ten years ago-why talk to Julia now?

Julia in Luna

I’m happy to admit I was wrong, wrong, wrong. This was one of the most fascinating interviews I have ever had the pleasure of being involved with. In a studio at WEAA on the Morgan State University campus, Julia told the amazing tale of her 738 days living in Luna. She shared with us the poetry and artwork that is currently on display at Baltimore’s own American Visionary Arts Museum as part of the All Faiths Beautiful exhibit. These are drawings and writings she made while living in Luna and they are evidence of the wide array of emotions she went through while she lived in Luna–from fear for her life to a sense of deep joy and oneness with the universe. They are made on scraps of paper and cardboard that she had in the tree with her.


Please enjoy the interview and take the time to visit the AVAM and see Julia’s artwork.  The running time is 56:30.


Learn More:

Some images from Julia’s exhibition at the AVAM.


Written by Marc Steiner

Marc Steiner

The Marc Steiner Show currently airs on The Real News Network. The show covers the topics that matter, engaging real voices, from Charm City to Cairo and beyond. Email us to share your comments with us.


  1. kat bradley says:

    Thank you for this great write-up about Julia Butterfly Hill. She’s a peach…she also my baby girl. I’m her mom!

  2. Jesse nichols says:

    Thank you Julia for what you have done to help save the forest. You saved lots of trees, plants and animals. That Im sure wanna say thanks to. Your one of my heros for spending all that time in that tree to help save the forest thanks!

  3. CEM says:

    Hi Oziel – thanks for writing! Here’s the info you’re looking for:

    For Julia Butterfly Hill speaking engagement inquiries at colleges, universities and conferences only, please contact Paul Bassis at 707-923-4619 or paul@infinite9.com.

  4. Oziel Gerardo says:

    Hello, my name is Oziel Gerardo Del Angel Lopez and I’m president of an MUN group of a Mexican University. I was wondering, how hard was it for you to contact Julia Butterfly when you did the interview? We are doing a Model United Nations and I’m searching for an activist speaker. I think all our actions should influence others to make a change in their surroundings. I think, Julia Butterfly could be the perfect speaker for our event, because of all what she has done and I know she could inspire our participants to take action and make a difference. I was wondering if you could help me contact her so I can talk a little bit more our event and see if she can give a conference for the participants of the MUN.
    Thank you

  5. Jennifer says:

    Hi: Julia’s mom! Last night my 5 year old daughter and I were lying in bed. I told her about “Butterfly” the woman who lived in the tree.” She kept asking me questions. It was late so I deferred til today. I had remembered much of the story as I was so thrilled about it as it was happening, but I hadn’t remembered that she stayed in the tree for TWO YEARS. OMG. TWO YEARS?? That is amazing.
    I can’t imagine what YOU were going thru, let alone her. What a legacy she leaves for all of us who believe in acting when necessary.
    My admiration for you and your daughter.
    Jennifer McG
    PS where can I go to get details re: how your daughter got her food, the “house” and what it looked like, etc. And is there a children’s book written about her?

  6. bret roark says:

    I don’t have any words to appreciate this post…..I am really impressed ….the person who created this post surely knew the subject well…Thanks for sharing this with us. Julia is Great. She is helping to save tree, animals and indirectly human life. She is really a great inspiration and people who think she is a hippie must admit her power now.Her art has really a great feel inside.

  7. Abigail says:

    WHENS THE MOVIE?!?! I’d be glad to star in it 😉 haha

  8. saroncarson says:

    Whatever the people say, to me Julia is the name of hope and inspiration and I think every single people should appreciate her brave effort to save the planet.  The people who said her crazy are nothing but hypocrites and selfish. They organize thousands of seminars on “save the world, save the green…blab la bla but they actually don’t do a single good thing for the world. I wish I could also join with Julia in her silent movement.

    Puppies for sale

  9. Anonymous says:

    I have heard of the story too.May be I was wrong in this.For me I don’t think she is a crazy hippie but I think she is really a great inspiration for the people.738 days in Luna is an unbelievable thing now. How can she do this? She is really a great inspiration and people who think she is a hippie must admit her power now.Her art has really a great feel inside.

  10. ficus tree says:

    Yes, definitely we should be thankful to Julia for what she has done. Our life is so closely related to trees, forest, water etc. We are just a part of it and we can never be apart from it. I still remember my childhood was spent in a fruit garden, those mango trees, ficus trees and many other fruit trees. I think forest, trees are close friends to us. They provide us fuel, house, proper rainfall and many other mineral resources. So, not only Julia we all should save the forest.

  11. Charlyn Pinkey says:

    One really needs a lot of determination to do something like this. It is easy to preach but difficult to follow. Julia has really set a very good example. Hope people get inspired with it.

  12. Anonymous says:

    That is both extremely weird and fascinating at the same time. People who go to these lengths really amaze me. The experiences that they come away with and the new perspective that they have is however fairly amazing. The kind of story that grips you and even though you might not agree with all their views, you will tell others about it… and so the story spreads to never again stop.

  13. Mr Homestay says:

    Nice postying. Thank you so much

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