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When Rhenish cheerfulness meets serious messages

Bending low, Enrico Lein squeezes through the narrow door of the small storage room. With his bulky legs, he steps on the chopped tree bark under his feet and straightens up step by step to his full height. The twigs and leaves on his head wobble, the grass around his lips and eyebrows twitch. As all the exhibitors in the North Rhine-Westphalia Hall join in to sing "Happy Birthday," Enrico waves his long gnarled fingers and begins to dance carefully on his stilts.

A man like a tree

Enrico Lein is a freelance artist. Every year since 2016, he has mimed a 2.30-meter-high oak tree at the International Green Week for the stand of Landbetrieb Wald und Holz NRW - including on his 52nd birthday. And even though there is a lot to celebrate on this day, he wants to use his costume to draw attention to a serious issue: "I think everyone in North Rhine-Westphalia has noticed that the forest is not doing well," says Irene Breil from Landbetrieb Wald und Holz. 135,000 hectares of spruce have died in NRW in the past four years. Currently, as part of the reforestation process, the aim is to find out which tree species can best cope with climate change. At the stand, an electronic counter indicates how many tons of CO2 the forest in NRW binds per second. "By producing durable wood products, the carbon that the tree previously stored in the wood also remains bound in the long term," explains Breil.

Quiz for small and large forest connoisseurs

To explain the forest and the importance of wood in an easy-to-understand way, she and her team have prepared short videos that play on a monitor, a quiz with ten questions for big and small forest connoisseurs, a postcard station and the opportunity to make buttons in different sizes. "We want to teach young people a lot about the forest so they can appreciate it," Breil says. For more information, visit https://www.waldstaunen.nrw.

Interested trade fair visitors can find the entire program of NRW Hall 5.2, which features an entertaining and informative stage program, numerous cooking shows, a pub quiz from the Foodhub NRW innovation platform and many regional and high-quality delicacies, in the "NRW Hall" app. Visitors can find the complete program of the International Green Week, including a hall plan, event overview and list of exhibitors, in the "IGW" app, available free of charge in the Appstoreand Google Playstore.

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