Julia Butterfly Hill

by Julia Honeycutt


Julia was born on February 18, 1974 and she is currently 42 years old. She was born in Mount Vernon, Missouri.


Hill was born in Mount Vernon, Missouri. She was homeschooled in a religious Christian family when she was young in Jonesboro, Arkansas. When she turned 16, she started taking college courses. She also opened her own restaurant when she was 18. In 1996, Hill began to reassess her life's purpose when she was in a near-fatal car crash. She traveled to California's redwood forests and joined the environmentalist movement which helped prevent destruction of the world's ancient redwoods. Hill lived on a 6-by-8-foot platform in a tree and she communicated only by cell phone. After living in a tree for more than two years, Luna's were now protected and she earned a $50,000 donation to Humboldt State University for forestry research. Hill published a book about her experience in 2000. It was called The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman, and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods. In 2006, she participated in a tree-sit in Los Angeles to protect working-class immigrant farmers.

What did she advocate for?

Hill urged for protection of the ancient forests because only 3% of the ancient redwood forests remain.

  • She wanted to protect Luna
  • Slow down logging process in the immediate area
  • Raise broad based public awareness

Why was she interested?

Hill lived in the canopy of an ancient redwood tree to help make the world aware of the scarce amount of ancient forests. The forests were no longer being protected and she was interested in protecting it herself. She has a powerful voice for the environment and was very courageous and committed.

Impact on the Environment

Hill impacted the environment by preventing deforestation, which is transforming a forest into cleared land. Trees create an ecosystem to provide habitat and food for birds and other animals, and they absorb carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen. Hill cofounded the Circle of Life Foundation, which committed to transform human interactions with nature, and she published a book that shared her experience of living in a tree with others. Her book made readers realize the importance of forests and Luna trees and helped raise money for forestry research.

Interesting Facts

  • Hill climbed high into an old Luna tree and set up a house on a little platform high in the tree. She was trying to prevent destruction of the tree by making it impossible to destroy the tree without killing her.
  • She broke the American record for tree-sitting
  • Her father was a traveling evangelical minister
  • In her early years, Hill and her two brother and mother toured the country in a 32-foot camper.
  • She has a nickname Butterfly-one day when her family was hiking when she was six, a butterfly landed on her finger and stayed there for the whole hike.
  • She attended Arkansas State University
  • After Hill was hit by a drunk driver, it took almost a year of physical and cognitive therapy before she could walk and talk normally again.