“Every company is warned!”

Interview with Ed, the oak tree resident.

February 4, Day 8

Good morning Ed, how are you?

Good. My sleeping situation is getting better and better. At first we had only used some trash we found here for the tree house, and now there is some more material like the sleeping bags from the departed residents, which has allowed me to create a somewhat nicer sleeping place. The bed is finally level and I now sleep on the platform.

Furthermore, I have a fantastic view, despite the huge factory of VDL. I’m sitting here among the monumental oaks, there are many birds, we’ve seen deer.

Of course I am disappointed that Lou was caught. Of course it’s a bit more boring now, we had a good routine together, and some things were easier to do with the two of us: cooking, pouring water. That’s not very easy on a sloping platform. And it’s also harder to build things on your own.

You don’t have to cook, do you? I understand you get food every day?

Yes, every day delicious food and drinks are brought. But everything comes at once and the soup doesn’t really stay warm in the thermos flasks, so we heat it up. There is a biolite burner here, it is almost smoke-free and uses little wood, so that is fine. We had gotten some fantastic bread from the local organic market the first few days and we were able to toast it over the fire for a long time.

What about the new resident, named Boselfje [Forest Elf]? Seen her yet?

No, I heard this morning that a new resident had arrived, but I haven’t seen Boselfje yet.

You’ve been alone in the tree all day. Aren’t you bored?

No, certainly not. I have a daily routine, I get up with tea and breakfast, then I check in with Maarten on the phone and tidy up my bed. And then of course there are all kinds of climbing projects that I keep myself busy with. Right now I’m trying to string a rope to another tree, so that I can expand my habitat a bit. Unfortunately, I can’t get to the ground anymore, there’s constant security at my tree.

How did you actually end up there?

We went into the woods from the State Road on Friday night (January 28) with small groups. There was security but they seemed to be sleeping. Most of us stayed in the poplar forest but I continued with three others to the old oak forest where I am now. That wasn’t easy, first we had to go through the poplar forest, then quietly along a road where all the guards were, then we had to go through a thicket again and crawl on all fours through a patch of grass until we reached a ditch. Someone of us went through the ditch with a wading suit and attached a rope to a tree. From this we were able to make a traverse and one by one, hanging from a carabiner, we crossed it. In the oak forest we finally found a suitable tree and with some effort we were able to throw a rope into it. This was all in pitch darkness, and of course we couldn’t use our headlamps. When we were finally in this tree and it started to get light we were euphoric, we didn’t think it would work.

And what are you doing here in the first place? How did you end up in this occupation?

I am self-employed and fortunately I can take some time off. The fact that I don’t receive any income is something I’m willing to accept.

My career as a forest protector started in Schinveld. The Schinveldse bos was occupied by Groenfront in 2005. When I arrived there someone taught me how to climb and one thing led to another. Because of the actions of Groenfront and the local residents, a large part of that forest was spared.

So my motivation for doing this is that by being in the trees you can really make a difference. A forest occupancy can prevent, delay or reduce logging. Because we are here, now everyone knows about the Sterrebos. And every company is warned: you can’t just cut down a forest!