Chestnut tree gets a mailbox - and writes back

19th April 2007, Comments 0 comments

20 April 2007, Dusseldorf (dpa) - A time-honoured chestnut tree in the Dusseldorf district of Himmelgeist is about to become a busy pen pal. On the occasion of "Tree Day" in Germany on April 25 the chestnut will get its own postal address. It is the second tree in Germany which people can write to - but the first one that will "write" back. Members of the local community association and the initiative"Tree ghosts of Himmelgeist" have planned on answering all the letters in lieu of the old tree. "We want to

20 April 2007

Dusseldorf (dpa) - A time-honoured chestnut tree in the Dusseldorf district of Himmelgeist is about to become a busy pen pal.

On the occasion of "Tree Day" in Germany on April 25 the chestnut will get its own postal address. It is the second tree in Germany which people can write to - but the first one that will "write" back.

Members of the local community association and the initiative
"Tree ghosts of Himmelgeist" have planned on answering all the letters in lieu of the old tree.

"We want to draw people's attention to environmental protection," initiative participant Andreas Vogt says. "Our chestnut tree represents all other trees."

Normally, postal addresses are reserved for "people and legal bodies," but in the case of the old chestnut, the German Post made an exception.

"If it is about environmental protection, we are happy to help," says Achim Gahr, the post's spokesman in Dusseldorf.

Alongside the Dusseldorf chestnut tree only the "Groom's Oak" in Eutin in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein has its own address. It has been receiving letters for years now - but has never written back.

From April 25 onwards, people who want to contact the chestnut can send their letters to: Himmelgeister Kastanie, Koelner Weg, 40589 Duesseldorf-Himmelgeist. Those who enclose a 45-cent stamp will receive an answer.

The 200-year-old tree stands alone in a field alongside the Rhine River where it has survived two world wars. Generations of people met in its shade, held picnics or even a secret rendezvous. In 1998 the tree was declared a natural monument.

However, when in early 2006 an expert noticed fungal decay and the danger that the tree, with its circumference of almost four metres, could topple over, there were plans afoot to cut it down.

But a citizen's initiative collected signatures and prevented the old chestnut from being chopped into kindling.

A new expert opinion was obtained which certified that the tree was in the best of health.

"At that time it became obvious that many people have a lot of emotional memories associated with that tree," Andreas Vogt says. (Internet: www.himmelgeister-kastanie.de)

DPA

Subject: German news

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