Berkeley, CA -In early morning hours of Saturday, December 2, one University of California (UC) student and at least 2 local residents, including former mayoral candidate Zachary Running Wolf, climbed and occupied trees in a grove of Oaks that UC plans to cut down.
For Immediate Release
Contact: Zachary Running Wolf (cell in the tree) (469) 544-9756
Activists Take to the Trees to Defend Oak Grove
Berkeley, CA -In early morning hours of Saturday, December 2, one University of California (UC) student and at least 2 local residents, including former mayoral candidate Zachary Running Wolf, climbed and occupied trees in a grove of Oaks that UC plans to cut down. UC is planning destroy this majestic grove in order to build a parking lot and sports training facility. This unique eco-system, the last grove of coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia) in the Berkeley lowlands, is protected by municipal code. However, UC, the largest landowner in Berkeley, claims they do not have to obey city laws and codes.
The California Native Plant Society said “This site is of great value as a gene bank for Coast Live Oak.” Environmentally this area is important habitat for a myriad of different species that have been pushed out of their nearby oak woodland habitat by development, primarily due to UC expansion. With the ongoing devastation from Sudden Oak Death Syndrome keeping this grove intact becomes even more important.
This tree-sit action is being taken after the university ignored the concerns of residents, students, scientists, the Berkeley City Council and many others. Community members have, for years, been frustrated by the University’s apparent disdain for citizen input and local opinion. “Having old trees and open spaces is important to the health of our community and children. I just don’t see how an institution supposedly dedicated to teaching good stewardship of the earth could even suggest cutting these trees.” said local resident Danielle Chase.
The planned cutting of the precious oaks has brought hundreds of alarmed local residents and university students to speak out against this destruction and degradation of local wilderness. After exhausting many other avenues, Running Wolf decided to take direct action because UC is stonewalling community, student and even City of Berkeley efforts to find workable solutions. “I’m not coming down until these trees are protected.” said tree-sitter Running Wolf.
The tree occupation is ongoing, located between Piedmont Avenue and Memorial Stadium on the UC campus. For more information and to speak to the tree-sitters directly call (469)-544-9756.