UC Santa Cruz's Science Hill Grove Felled

By Richard Brenneman
Monday December 15, 2008 - 04:38:00 PM

The last UC Santa Cruz treesitter surrendered to campus police Saturday, moments before a chainsaw-wielding crew began to level the redwood grove they had occupied for 402 days. 

“We knew they were getting ready for an extraction, so we had been preparing,” said Jennifer Charles, who had been the designated media contact for the protest. 

In the end, when “about 90 police in riot gear” and the commercial tree-cutters appeared Saturday morning, only one treesitter was left in the branches, Charles said. He came down of his own volition, to be promptly booked on charges of trespassing, disturbing the peace and violation of a court order, she said. 

The tree-clearing crew cleared the last platforms occupied by the treesitters and then set to work felling 48 century-old redwoods and 11 oaks on the site designated for construction of a new biomedical facility. 

The tree-clearing crews didn’t need to resort to the scaffolding used to clear the last redwood at UC Berkeley’s Memorial Stadium, where a longer arboreal occupation ended Sept. 9 after police were able to mount a structure that reached to within a dozen feet of the top of that groves tallest redwood. 

Charles said the protest, mounted in opposition to plans in the Santa Cruz campus Long Range Development, didn’t end with the treesit on Science Hill and the arrest of Scott Poshian the moment his feet touched earth Saturday. 

“We’re all going to continue fighting together to prevent the expansion in our own different ways,” she said. 

The university’s plans will be going to the Local Agency Formation Commission in the spring. 

The university’s announcement Saturday was terse, beginning: “Construction preparation activities began earlier this morning on the Science Hill site that will be home to the new Biomedical Sciences building