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Nationally Known Environmental Activist Speaks on Campus

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ohio Northern University commemorated the 40th anniversary of Earth Day with a presentation from activist and environmentalist Julia “Butterfly” Hill in the ONU English Chapel on Tuesday, April 20 at 7 p.m. The talk was sponsored by a variety of campus organizations that included Phi Beta Delta, the Department of Religion and Philosophy, and CASE.

Hill, a best-selling author and co-founder of the Circle of Life Foundation, discussed her role as an environmental activist and the challenges she has faced for more than a decade. She is best known for living in a 1,500-year-old redwood tree for 738 days (Dec. 1997 - Dec. 1999) to prevent it from being harvested by a local lumber company. She detailed her account in her book “The Legacy of Luna” and has co-authored “One Makes the Difference: Inspiring Actions That Change Our World.”

Hill is one of the most internationally recognizable figures in environmental activism. In 1999, she founded the non-profit organization Circle of Life to promote the sustainability, restoration and preservation of all life. She helped launch and continues to support The Engage Network, What’s Your Tree and the Women’s Earth Alliance. Her life story is currently being developed as a dramatic feature film.

Hill delivered her talk as a conversation with a former student to large crowd of student and faculty that gathered despite the hour and a half delay due to travel problems on the coast. She also remained on campus and talked to students until the early morning. Despite her assertion that living in a tree for over two years was less frightening than talking to audiences, her talk was received favorably by both students and faculty, and it was a tremendous opportunity for our students to meet the person behind the headlines.