On Saturday, some tree-huggers protesting the removal of eucalyptus trees in the East Bay Hills decided that their hugs needed more intimacy, and stripped naked to hug eucalyptus trees on the University of California Berkeley campus for a photography shoot.
Roughly 50-75 people showed up for the protest, which was organized by the Tree Spirit Project, founded by Jack Gescheidt, who brought a six-man crew with photographer Ted Friedman snapping photos of the naked protesters.
In October 1991, a huge wildfire in the area burned over 3,300 homes, killed 25 people and injured 150 more.
In September 2014, 12 elected officials from the Berkeley area signed a letter sent to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to approve funding to remove the trees from Claremont Canyon. The eucalyptus trees were then marked for removal by the Federal Emergency Management Agency because of the fire-risk they posed to Claremont Canyon and surrounding areas.
In March, FEMA targeted $5.7 million to the California Office of Emergency Services to cut down the eucalyptus trees in Claremont Canyon as well as Tilden Park and Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve.
The Tree Spirit Project has bitterly criticized the removal of the trees as “clear-cutting.” The Hills Conservation Network (HCN) group, which argues that the removal of eucalyptus trees will make a fire more likely because the dead trees left behind could increase the fire-risk, and wants to stop the possible use of Glyphosate on the tree stumps left behind, has filed a lawsuit against FEMA.
On Saturday, after exhorting the protesters to save every eucalyptus tree, Gescheidt told volunteers to pose against the trees while clothed before they stripped to the buff for the more intimate photos.