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Washington Activists with Passion

One worked with the nation's top atmospheric scientists; the other was an aspiring journalist. Now they both face years in prison for the ELF arson fire at a UW research facility
Jennifer Kolar and Lacey Phillabaum seem unlikely criminals.

Well-educated young women passionate about environmental causes, they share a love of the outdoors and similar backgrounds. Both grew up in Spokane and attended the same public high school.
The women were concerned about what was going on around them -- the logging of old-growth forests, the slaughter of animals for sport. Like many Northwest activists, they pushed for change.

But their activism morphed into something more dangerous -- and now both are headed to prison.

Before dawn on May 21, 2001, Kolar cut the glass that allowed fellow Earth Liberation Front members to sneak into the University of Washington office of professor Toby Bradshaw, who was studying the genetics of fast-growing hybrid poplar trees. Phillabaum's role is still unclear, but she was also on the scene, court documents show.
She was passionate about animal rights and often protested against animals being hunted for sport, Webster said. "It's not the least bit surprising to me that she carried her passions that far."

In grad school, Kolar volunteered for such groups as Rocky Mountain Animal Defense. She tried to stop the Denver Zoo from allegedly sending surplus animals to hunting ranches, said David Crawford, the group's founder.

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