What's Your Tree Newsletter Mailing List

To sign up for the What's Your Tree Newsletter, please click on the link below.


This is the best way to get updates on the program and connect with us as we grow.

Thanks for your interest!!


What's Your Tree Background

What’s Your Tree is a program inspired by the story and message of Julia Butterfly Hill.

Julia Butterfly Hill gained international notoriety when she climbed 200 feet up into an ancient redwood tree named Luna that was slated to be cut down by Pacific Lumber/Maxaam Corporation. She refused to come down until Luna was permanently protected. Withstanding death threats and gale force El Nino winds, Julia lived on a tiny platform in Luna's branches for 738 days. Julia and her team had successfully negotiated to save Luna and a 3 acre buffer zone around the tree into perpetuity.

Julia's brave and inspiring action brought international attention to the plight of our dwindling ancient redwoods. For many years after she returned to the ground, Julia toured the world speaking abour her experience in the media and to audiences large and small and about the many lessons she learned.

One of the primary lessons Julia speaks about is the disease of "celebretitis," when we look to celebrities or other public figures as all-knowing and all-important. Julia's primary message all along has been to take the spotlight that has shined on her for many years, and turn it back to each one of us. We are all Julia Butterflys, Gandhis, Martin Luther Kings, Mother Theresas. We all have the potential and power to become great leaders, to serve with our hearts, and to change the world.

The What's Your Tree program uses this message and folds it into a 7 week curriculum for small groups. It uses the writings and message of Julia Butterfly Hill as a way to find our own inner calling that is more powerful than we know ourselves to be. This is what we call "finding your tree."

What's Your Tree was developed out of a year-long inquiry sparked by a major motion picture based on Julia's story. This film, LUNA, is scheduled to start shooting in 2008. The possibility of a major media event like a film had us ask "What is it that takes someone from inspiration into action over the long haul?" When someone is inspired by a film, what would keep them involved and active in the world? The answer to that question became the foundation for the Engage Network, a new nonprofit organization that Julia's team birthed. (See below for details about the Engage Network.)

What's Your Tree was developed for people who are inspired by Julia’s story. It provides a way for people to “find their own tree” and build small groups and social networks in their community at the same time. When the LUNA film is released widely, we are using What's Your Tree as a way to allow inspired movie viewers to take steps towards long term engagement in their communities and in the world.

The Engage Network

The universe is but one great city, full of beloved ones, divine and human by nature, endeared to each other. Epictetus (c. 50 - 120)

What’s Your Tree is a program that was founded by of Julia Butterfly Hill’s nonprofit organization, Circle of Life.

What’s Your Tree is also powered by The Engage Network, a new nonprofit organization that is a collaboration of Circle of Life and several other social and environmental change organizations and networks.

The Engage Network is working to create a world where people are part of strong and vibrant communities, have a personal sense of purpose, and are having fun while making a difference. It operates through small purpose-driven groups of people taking action together in their communities.

The Engage Network also plans to link these small groups and support groups in creating more groups. This is much like the way a starfish works in nature. If a starfish loses its arm, it often grows a new one. In some breeds of starfish, the lost leg even grows a whole new starfish! It is a de-centralized system where everyone shares power.

We want you to know that people in the What's Your Tree Program are a part of this larger network of people who have a dream of a better world based in environmental and social justice, peace and sustainability.

For those of you who want to read more of our core thinking behind the Engage Network, check out these books:
  • The Starfish and the Spider, Ori Brafman (on the Engage Network leadership team) and Rod Beckstrom. www.starfishandspider.com

  • Blessed Unrest, Paul Hawken. www.blessedunrest.com
  • Coming Back to Life, Joanna Macy
  • The Purpose Driven Church, Rick Warren


Philosophy of the Engage Network

What's Your Tree is part of a nonprofit organization called The Engage Network.

The core organizing principles behind the Engage Network are:

Purpose is deeply knowing who you are and sharing your story. Each person has a
chance to share their story and to find their inner purpose.

We want everyone to have a sense of inner and outer balance. To do this, our programs
help people to find a practice that will help them to achieve more peace and more love.

We are better together, particularly in small groups who met in person.

When we find joy with each other, life seems to work better.

We take on projects that make a difference in the world. We do this is a sustainable

Using the old civil rights organizing philosophy: “Each one reach one, each one teach one, each one pull one into the sun,” we encourage each small group to find a way to reach out and start other groups. Part of the way we do this is to offer more advanced trainings in leadership and network building. To grow circles, we need your ideas!

The What's Your Tree Curriculum

Our curriculum was developed to be used in small "living room" groups of 4-12 people. It is a series of stories, exercises and concepts that are spread out over 7 weeks. Group leaders do not have any special training- they are people who are inspired by Julia's story, enthusiastic and committed to group participants getting their own purpose and power.

Right now, the curriculum is still being beta tested and revised. Our goal is to have small groups meeting all over the U.S. and all over the world. These groups will be interconnected to one another, working together on projects and initiatives that benefit our planet.

Fall 2007 Program Sites

Durham, North Carolina
Leader: Jodi Lassater

Austin, Texas
Leader: Wini Hunton Chan

Denton, Texas
Regional Leader: Chris Oller
Group Leaders: Alicia Cotilla, Chris Oller
Steering Committee Members: Annie Downey, Kendra Keefer McGee

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Leader: Melanie Orpen

Eureka, California
Leader: Therese Keslin

Denton Texas What's Your Tree Program

We are very proud of the location where we chose to begin testing What's Your Tree. The inspiring participants and leaders in Denton Texas want to share their thoughts about the program. See the comments on this posting to learn more about the people behind the Denton Texas What's Your Tree program!

The photo is a picture of the growing seeds of intention that our Denton Group planted during a seed planting ceremony in the 2nd week of the program.

Launching New Program Sites

In Spring, 2008 we hope to launch at least 2 new program sites. A program site, or region, will typically start with one group that grows into many groups in a region over time. Our goal is to have a network of small groups in each region, which are connected to similar networks all over the world. These small groups will be supporting one another in taking action that forwards environmental sustainability, social justice, peace and spiritual fulfillment.

Each new program site costs about $50,000 to seed and nurture over the first year. We have a commitment that each of the circles be financially self-supporting after the second year. Our development costs includes creating earned income strategies for local communities so that the program can continue into perpetuity.

To launch a new site, we need to raise the proper funding to ensure the groups have what they need to be successful. If you are interested in fundraising to bring What's Your Tree to your area, or interested in making a gift to support What's Your Tree, please let us know by emailing info@whatsyourtree.org.


What's Your Tree in Julia's Words

Julia talking about "What's Your Tree" while working with the South Central Farmers in South Central Los Angeles, Summer, 2006.



The Most I Can Ask

By Wini Hunton-Chan
What's Your Tree Group Leader, Austin, TX

Once upon a time I was an over-worked hippie. In my memory, I see myself hurrying to and from the bus or the BART with my matte-to-go in my reusable mug. A few years earlier, I had begun this zero-waste endeavor passionate and excited. But slowly, as the world seemed to get worse instead of better, I just got jaded. I hated people who didn’t bring their own canvas bags to the grocery store. I saw them in front of me in line and was enraged thinking of how they would take home ALL those plastic bags and just throw them out! I KNEW they wouldn’t reuse them. I felt like everyone who used a paper cup or a throw away to-go container personally hated me and the planet. Every time I saw waste, I felt like I had just been vomited on.

If I was thirsty and I had forgotten my reusable mug, I would go without. If I went to a party and they were using paper plates and I had forgotten my “sustainablity kit” I would go hungry. Being hungry and thirsty while taking public transit between three different cities is enough to make anyone chronically pissed off. My feelings of pride and nobility were quickly turning into bitterness and judgement. I felt like I was such an incapable and dysfunctional and EVIL person for not being prepared for every distasteful disposable situation. I even bitched a people who accidentally put my drink into a paper cup. I was not a happy camper.

Those feelings of frustration, anger and guilt got so bad that I finally gave up and quit being an activist. To my surprise, giving up was the best thing I could have done. From where I was then, I would consider myself today a sell-out. I would hate myself. But the person that I am today has outgrown the hostile, petty person that I was four years ago. The truth of the matter is that I had too much going on in my life. And our society is set up to make it VERY hard to not use disposables especially when we are busy go-getters like myself. In order to live the waste-free life which I felt was my badge of honor, I would have had to scale back on many of my activities. So the problem wasn’t really an issue of to-use-or-not-to-use-a-paper-cup but of saying “no”.

Today I am very careful about what I say “yes” to. This is a slow and steady process of de-cluttering my life. My life and thoughts and feelings must be free of trash in order for me to be lovingly empowered to create less waste. Guilt is garbage. Anger is trash. Judgement is a whole bunch of plastic grocery bags wadded up and thrown right at everything loving and beautiful. I am a lot more selective about what I say “yes” to. I do not live my life by obligation but by desire. I work less, do less, socialize only when its meaningful to me. Still, sometimes I find myself drinking out of a paper cup. When this happens, I don’t want to kill myself or cry or have a temper tantrum. I simply think, “I am drinking out of a throw-away cup. This is not what I desire to be doing. Next time this person asks me to coffee, I will invite them to my home instead.” So when I go to the grocery store and I don’t have canvas bags (which happens fairly frequently) I don’t feel bad. I take the paper bags (or the plastic ones if I don’t catch them in time) and I reuse them. But more importantly, I acknowledge myself for being human. I see that I am one of many members of American culture with goals and ambitions and loves. I embrace my mainstream-ism while at the same time slowly eliminating all things AND thoughts which are not growing, loving and full of gratitude and respect.

This hasn’t simply been my journey as an activist (I consider myself one again) but as a human being as well. When I was so busy saving the earth one plastic bag and paper cup at a time, I forgot that I was human. I forgot about nurturing myself and to acknowledge the good that is in me and everyone around me. I only saw garbage. I felt like garbage. By the time I finally gave up, I had treated most of the people around me like garbage. By striving to be a better human, I know that I am also a better activist. Now that I have passion and enthusiasm for life again, I am a much better ambassador for the earth than the hostile person I once was. I know that I am doing the best I can within the confines of my budget and my society and my knowledge and I choose to accept that everyone else is too. I no longer wake up every day prepared to go to battle with my culture. Instead, I wake up every day prepared to welcome that which is good, right and true into my life. THIS is truly the most I can ask of myself.



A Partial List of Reading that Influenced
the What's Your Tree Curriculum

Purpose and Spirituality
  • A General Theory Of Love, Thomas Lewis MD., Fari Amini MD. - Richard Lannon MD.
  • A Little Book On the Human Shadow - Robert Bly
  • A New Earth – Eckhart Tolle
  • A Path With Heart - Jack Kornfield
  • Calling the Circle - Christina Baldwin
  • Chalice & the Blade – Riane Eisler
  • Coming Back to Life - Joanna Macy
  • Diamond Heart - A.H.Almaas
  • Hero with a Thousand Faces – Joseph Campbell
  • Man's Search For Meaning - Viktor Frankl
  • Mind Games: The Guide to Inner Space – Robert Masters & Jean Houston
  • No Boundary - Ken Wilber
  • On Fear - Krishnamurti
  • Purpose Driven Life - Rick Warren
  • Start Where You Are - Pema Chodron
  • Taming Your Gremlin - Rick Carson
  • The Denial Of Death - Ernest Becker
  • The Essential Enneagram - David Daniels MD., Virginia Price PHD.
  • The Fear Book - Cheri Huber
  • The Fifth Sacred Thing – Starhawk
  • The Four Agreements, A practical guide to personal freedom - Don Miguel Ruiz
  • The Miracle of Mindfulness - Thich Nhat Hanh
  • The Places that Scare You - Pema Chodron
  • The Power of Foucusing - Ann Weiser Cornell PHD
  • The Power of Place, How our surroundings shape our thoughts, emotions and actions - Winifred Gallagher
  • The Wisdom Of Insecurity - Alan Watts
  • There is Nothing Wrong With You - Cheri Huber
  • To Be Human - J. Krishnamurti
  • Traveling Mercies- Anne Lamott
  • What Should I Do With My Life? (the true story of people who answered the ultimate question) - Po Bronson
  • When Things Fall Apart - Pema Chodron
  • Year To Live, how to live this year as if it were your last - Stephen Levine
  • You are What You Say - Matthew Budd, Larry Rothstein
Social Networks
  • A Simpler Way - Margaret Wheatley
  • Blessed Unrest- Paul Hawken
  • Leadership and the New Science - Margaret Wheatley
  • Grooming, Gossip and the Evolution of Language – Robin Dunbar
  • Open Business Models – Henry Chesborough
  • Purpose Driven Church – Rick Warren
  • PyroMarketing – Greg Stielstra
  • Starfish and the Spider – Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom
  • The Irresistible Revolution - Shane Claiborne
  • The Tipping Point - Malcolm Gladwell
  • Bird by Bird-Anne Lamott
  • Simple Abundance- Sarah Ban Breathnach
  • The Artists Way- Julia Cameron
  • The Right to Write- Julia Cameron
  • Vein of Gold- Julia Cameron
  • Writing Down the Bones, Freeing the Writer Within- Natalie Goldberg
  • Letters To A Young Poet - Rainer Maria Rilke
  • Ten Poems To Change Your Life - an anthology edited by Roger Housden
  • The Heart Aroused- David Whyte
  • The Prophet - Khalil Gibran
  • The Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu - Translated by Stephen Mitchell
  • The Way To Love, the last meditations of Jesuit priest - Anthony de Mello

  • Good To Great - Jim Collins
  • Leading without Power- Max De Pree

  • Legacy of Luna – Julia Butterfly Hill
  • One Makes the Difference – Julia Butterfly Hill
  • Walden – Henry David Thoreau


The What's Your Tree Program was developed from speeches, writings and concepts from Julia Butterfly Hill. Julia wrote a large portion of materials for the program.

Alissa Hauser is the What's Your Tree National Team Leader.
Marianne Manilov is the National Director of the Engage Network.

Special thanks to our Founding Group Leaders in Denton, Texas who were brave enough to test the program before there was a program:
  • Annie Downey
  • Kendra Keefer-McGee
  • Thom Anderson
  • Kayci Barnett
  • Carolyn Harrod
  • Lovely Murrell
Our Inspiring and Amazing Curriculum Development Team:
  • Claudette Silver
  • Michael Scott
  • Kimberley Brown
  • Christopher Pease
  • Amira Diamond
Administration, Video and Graphic Design:
  • Chrissy Gruninger
  • Theo Rodrigues
  • Clinton Curnutt
  • Tony Faccino
  • Douglas Frey
  • Jessica Hurley


What's Your Tree was founded by Circle of Life and is a project of the Engage Network, a 501c3 nonprofit organization.

What's Your Tree
PO Box 6783
Albany, CA 94706

Donations are tax deductible. Make a donation via check to "The Engage Network" and send to the address above or contact us via email for credit card donations. Online donations will be set up soon.


What's Your Tree Bay Area Benefit

On Saturday, February 16, 2008, please join Julia Butterfly Hill for a special birthday party, benefitting the Bay Area What's Your Tree program.

The GROOVE GARDEN and Lydia's Organics Presents..


Dance, eat, commune, celebrate, engage and support with
Shimshai, MJ Greenmountain, DJ Dragonfly, The Social Prophet
Choir and Julia Butterfly Hill, plus additional guest artists,
kirtan, organic food and massage.

What's Your Tree is a community leadership and civic engagement
program that is based on Julia Butterfly Hill's message and
vision. It is part of the Engage Network, a new nonprofit
business venture dedicated to creating communities for change.

DATE: February 16, 2008

TIME: Doors open at 8pm

COVER: sliding scale $15-50. 100% of proceeds benefit What's
Your Tree.

PLACE: Fairfax Community Church, 2398 Sir Francis Drake,
Fairfax, CA

TO VOLUNTEER: The Groove Garden is looking for volunteers to help with setup, tear down, ambience creation, greeting and welcoming people and collecting money at the door. Volunteer shifts start at 4pm and you will get free admission to this party AND to a future Groove Garden event! Even if you can only commit 1 hour, please consider helping out. Please contact Martin if you are interested- gatheringforgood@gmail.com.