The incredible story of Julia “Butterfly” Hill

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When it comes to giant corporations and greedy companies, nothing stands in their way to make a profit and earn money.

Even the massive enduring Redwoods couldn’t stand a chance against the corporate society on their own. But, thanks to a young environmentalist, the world became aware that there is a way to fight the big corporations.


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Julia “Butterfly” Hill spent 738 days in a 200ft Redwood, as she attempted to save the ancient tree that she named Luna, along with the rest of the forest around it. She shocked the world, by showing that the battle for the preservation of Planet Earth is not yet lost.


At the age of 22, Julia suffered from a car crash, which gave her a skull fracture and she lost the ability to speak for one year. After the accident, she decided to rethink her life and set out to travel and explore the world. A year after the accident, Julia Hill discovered a group of activists protesting against the annihilation of a redwood forest in California. Fascinated by the ancient trees, Julia decided to join the cause, and take part in the protest. It was an act that changed the entire course of her life.

With her bravery, Julia decided to climb the 1,500-year-old redwood tree – one of the tallest in the forest. She acted with a purpose, to stop the Maxxam Corporation from chopping the tree down. Her idea was to draw attention in the international media to the horrible deforestation that was happening there.

Unfortunately, she could only stay up the tree for a few days and didn’t draw any attention. She knew that she had to break the record for tree sitting, which was 42 days, to get the attention she wanted, and that’s exactly what she did. After 100 days on the tree, Julia was all over the news, raising awareness about the ancient forest that was there long before any of us.



As time went by, Julia Hill became more and more famous, with many celebrities, politicians, and reporters approaching her. Many people wanted to support her cause, and the media wanted to share and spread her story.

Although she didn’t want to be in the spotlight, she made it her mission to share her cause in defending these ancient trees.


But, the conditions on the top of the tree weren’t the best. Apart from the challenging weather and the constant wind, she had to bear the pressure from the staff of Pacific Lumber, the company in charge of cutting the trees. Reportedly, Julia and many of the protestors were often harassed and harmed by the workers of the big company.

Luckily for Julia, she had the 200ft ancient tree to protect her from the pestering loggers. On top of that, the sound of snapping and falling trees tormented her all day long. To help her fight the loneliness and the loggers, she only had the one companion, the ancient redwood tree. Julia got so close to the tree that she named it Luna. Living with Luna was like “living with an ancient being” – said Julia.



While living on the tree, Julia managed to overcome every obstacle for more than two years. Pacific Lumber was persistent, but not as determined, persistent or courageous as Julia Hill.

After two years and eight days, she finally put her feet on the ground, partially defeating the big corporation. They agreed to preserve Luna and the trees within a 200-foot buffer zone around it. In compensation, Maxxam Corporation settled for $50,000, paid by Julia and her supporters. The money was donated to Humboldt State University to conduct research for sustainable logging.

“I understand that all of us are governed by different values. And I understand that to some people I’m just a tree-hugging hippie. But I just ca’ imagine being able to take a chainsaw to something like this. I don’t understand.” – said Julia, after she set her feet on solid ground.


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Thanks to her self-sacrifice and success to save Luna, Julia “Butterfly” Hill is now an acclaimed environmental activist. She consistently works towards achieving her goals, to “inspire, support and network individuals, organizations, and communities so together we can create environmental and social solutions that are rooted deeply in love and respect for the interconnectedness of all life.”

Julia is also a co-founder of “Circle of Life Foundation,” a motivational speaker, and travels around the world to spread her message. Her acts and bravery have been an inspiration for many artists, with poems and songs, like “Can’t Stop” by The Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Julia Hill Documentary


“I was leaving the best teacher and friend I’ve ever had. Also, the person I’d been when I’d gone up and the person I was when I came down were so profoundly different that I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to live in the world again. I hadn’t touched the ground for two years and eight days. When I set foot on the earth, there was a lot of emotion. There was extreme joy because we’d protected the tree and the grove around it, which a lot of people had said was impossible. But there was also sadness. I had become so much a part of that tree, and it had become so much a part of me, that I wasn’t sure I would fit in with other people. Though I left the tree, it’s still so much a part of who I am that I can just close my eyes and be in its branches all over again.” – Julia said in an interview.


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tomi-stojanovik is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival