Stories from Ground Support
Julia’s story is well known, but the Luna tree sit was way bigger than Julia Butterfly. It would not have been possible without the support crew and everyone who sustained the effort before, during, and after her part in it (way back to the beginning, when Luna was known by some as the Stafford Giant). Spruce and Shunka, both members of the Luna ground support team, have written recollections of their time working on the Luna tree sit.
- "How It Started" by Spruce
Hello, my name is Cole Fivenson, my forest name is Spruce, and I was part of the core of Julia's ground support crew during the Luna tree sit. I got involved in the tree sit in October 1997, when trees were being cut on the hillside above Stafford. Once I heard the sound of these ancient trees being cut down, I knew that I had to get involved in the direct action that would soon be taking place on the hillside. The town of Stafford had already been through a lot, having had a landslide destroy half the town the previous winter. Fellow activists were already climbing the hillside to see what we could do to stop the logging. Late one night word came in that an activist named Daniel had free climbed one of the largest trees on the hillside. There was a small group of us that knew that we had to do something for Daniel or he wouldn't last long in the tree without a platform or any supplies. It didn't take us long to get a platform built and to find the people who would help carry the platform and supplies up the hill. On the night of the full moon in October 1997, 11 activists, myself included, hiked up to the tree sit with the platform. While doing a full moon ceremony, we decided we needed to give the tree a name.
One of the people in the group came up with the name Luna, and we all thought it was the perfect name. After about two months of supporting the many people who had sat in Luna's arms, I met someone who would become one of my greatest inspirations; she is one of greatest people that I have had the honor of knowing and working with. I first met Julia Butterfly at our base camp, I really didn't get to know her until later on. After the base camp closed, I started staying in a large house just outside of Arcata. There were a lot of activists living in the house, it was there that I got to know her better. We were running the tree sit from that house for a little while. Julia had already spent some time in Luna before she began her marathon sit of 738 days. I still remember the day she left to sit in Luna, she was walking away from the house with her backpack heavily weighed down with supplies. She then turned and said, “See you guys in two weeks!” As it turned out, she ended up spending more than two years in Luna. Being part of helping Luna and Julia, and meeting so many awesome people, was probably one of the best things I have ever been involved with in my life. I wouldn't trade the experiences I had for anything. To see Julia safely come down from Luna, and to know that Luna and the surrounding trees would be saved, was one of the best days of life. I would like to thank all the people who helped the Luna tree sit, from those who hiked supplies up the hill, to those who sent us donations. Without the help of all of you, this action wouldn't be where it is today.
Thank you again, I love you all.