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We Can’t All Live in a Tree… October 14, 2011

Posted by Chris Garbutt in Leadership, Student Life.
Tags: ,

But we can do something! That’s a message I try to pass on to students through my work with the Leadership Development Program here at U of T.

One person who actually did live in a tree is Julia Butterfly-Hill. She will be speaking at Hart House on October 18, and will talk about what you can do to have an impact on the community around you. In 1997, Julia climbed 180 feet into the branches of a 1000-year-old redwood tree in California and refused to come down until she received a guarantee that the tree would be protected from logging. She stayed for a very long time.

It’s pretty impressive. Not only did she find the time to get involved in something that mattered to her – protecting an ancient forest from clear-cutting – she did so by climbing into a 1000-year-old redwood tree for 738 straight days! That’s more than two years! In a tree!

There are a million ways to make a difference, and some of them may even complement your studies, your skills and, if you’re lucky, your interests. As a staff member I try and role model that message through my own involvement in my community as well.

But amidst the bustle of classes, clubs, and trying to stay attuned to the latest trends of pop culture, finding the time to seek out that special something that gets your fired up can be the straw that breaks a student’s back. As someone on the other side of a Bachelor’s degree from U of T, I can certainly sympathize. For students and professionals alike, squeezing in the time to make a meaningful difference isn’t always easy.

Now, we can’t all live in a tree, but we can do something! Whether you have ten minutes, or two years, what meaningful contributions can you make to your community? In a sense, what’s your tree?

– Kate Bowers, Student Life Coordinator, Leadership Programs


   1. Debbie - October 14, 2011

Love the post, Kate! Right now, my tree is my career. It’s just a sapling (seedling?) but it’s growing. 🙂

   2. Wonderous - October 20, 2011

I wonder how she acquired food without climbing down!

   3. Daniel Mueller - June 7, 2012

Where did you get your photo?