HENRIK Dahle’s first memory of climbing a tree is of being lifted up one by his brother who said they had to escape fromthe ‘tall people’. Soon he will have another 365 memories of climbing trees to add to that first one.

The 34-year-old from Southampton is climbing a tree every day for a year.

And not just any trees. Later this month, he will be in Norway scaling the tree that is given to the British people to be erected in Trafalgar Square for Christmas.

He has also climbed trees under the Holocaust Memorial in Germany, where the Neanderthal Man was found, and ones in France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Holland and here in the UK.

And perhaps more importantly for him is who he’s climbed trees with.

These have included an Austrian Scout troupe, a woman waiting for a heart transplant, a middle-eastern dancer, Rob Hopkins, founder of the eco/social movement Transition, poets, artists, the founders of the Global Bee Project – the list goes on.

It’s an impressive feat, but the question is ‘why?’.

“I was interested in environmental issues before but not in such a focused way.

This project came out of the blue in a way. I just thought I’m going to climb a tree every day for a year and that was pretty much it.”

For Henrik, trees are an important symbol of sustainability, fragility and hope. He had always been interested in environmental and social issues but watching Al Gore’s controversial environmental film An Inconvenient Truth galvanised him into wanting to do something about it.

The idea came about after playing a tree-climbing game at a friend’s party.

Henrik, who is a filmmaker and has previously been involved in running arts events in Southampton, has been involved in some unusual projects before but this is probably the quirkiest.

It has a serious side, though.

Henrik is writing an Internet blog about his experiences and hopes to have a book published about the events, in the hope of engaging with people and encourage them to rethink the way we are living – and its environmental and ocial consequences.

“Climbing trees is a gimmick – it’s playful. People do say: ‘What?

You’re climbing a tree every day for a year?’ A lot of people know about the environment issues but they choose not to think about it. If you want to know about environmental issues you can read a newspaper or a website. There’s a different element to this – the heart element.

“Hopefully, it will speak to some people.

“Other people will just think I’m a middle class eccentric and I should get a proper job!”

There’s definitely one person whose lifestyle is being changed by Henrick’s tree climbing adventure – his own.

“The whole project has focused me. It’s easy to talk about sustainability but changing your lifestyle is something else,” he explains.

Henrik is half Norwegian and climbed the first of his 365 trees on May 17 – Norwegian Independence Day. This is, of course, one of the reasons why the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree – a symbol of friendship between Norway and Britain – is important.

Henrik intends to end his year of climbing by creating a ‘family tree’ in Norway – getting as many members of his own family together as possible.

In the meantime, Henrik still has a lot of trees to climb.

“I’m not quite half way yet so still got a long way to go,” he says.

“I’m sure there will be the dark months of the tree project where I’m hating the whole thing, climbing trees covered in snow and getting freezing cold in Norway.”

The only rule of the tree project is that he has to climb a tree every day, before midnight.

“I found myself running along a motorway in Spain at one point because I’d seen a tree outside a hotel and then we’d found a place to camp. It was quite late and it was further away than I thought. I ended up running in the dark and it was two minutes to 12. I jumped on this branch and climbed onto the tree and my watch was showing zero, zero.”

Henrik’s rule, combined with not always planning his tree-climbing too well, has resulted in a few scrapes.

“I’ve nearly poked my eye out climbing in the dark. I really scraped my stomach on tree seven and really ripped my skin. I haven’t had any real injuries though.” Touch wood… Henrik chooses his trees for a variety of reasons.

As well as climbing trees with people so he can interview them, Henrik is organising stunts and art projects involving the trees.

This includes inviting 50 people to climb a tree with him – a bottleneck of less confident climbers meant he fell six shy of his target – plans to organise a team of knitters to knit a jumper for a tree, symbolising the need to protect them, and dressing up as a ‘tree doctor’ and giving out prescriptions to people.

“People might read this and think ‘who is this guy going around climbing trees – come on, get a real life’. This could seem a bit frivolous but there’s more to it. There’s a wider point to it.”

•Visit Henrik’s blog at uptrees.net or his Facebook page UpTrees.