Up in the Air With a Mendocino County Tree-Sitter
“Warbler” is a 24-year-old goat farmer who has decided to make her home in a ponderosa pine near the Mendocino County town of Willits in hopes she can help head off a big Caltrans highway project. The agency has already begun preliminary work on a bypass that would shift U.S. 101 from its current route right through town to a new freeway. The Center for Biological Diversity and others are fighting the project in court, saying it would pave over sensitive wetlands, damage streams used by endangered coho salmon, and harm endangered plants.
Warbler–the name used by protester Amanda Senseman–has spent the past month in her tree–fashioning a living room and kitchen in boughs 70 feet off the ground. Her home consists of two wooden 4-by-8-foot platforms and a hammock strung above. Her supporters and other protesters send up supplies via a basket. She sleeps, harnessed to the tree, in two sleeping bags.
KQED intern and photographer Deborah Svoboda visited Warbler/Senseman in her perch earlier this week and brought back pictures of her aerial abode.
(Construction update: The Willits News reports several birds’ nests were found last week in the construction right-of-way, halting construction until at least next week.)