Perched with tree climbing enthusiasts to “reweave the loose bond between plants and humans”

It is a suspended moment, where the silence of humans lets us hear the concert of birds. Suspended like Judith, Marwan, Aya, Djessim, Rayane, Lyssana and Alvah, all of whom are under 11 years old and speak easily. But, at this moment, they rise and fall noiselessly along their rope or swing gently, heads thrown back and arms outstretched, for the most confident, as if won over by the quiet power of the 20 meter high beech which welcomes them. Perched, peaceful.

Of course, the miracle doesn’t last. THE “ahhhh!” », “wow!” », “It’s so good, it’s working!” » resume quickly, such is the excitement of the children of Vénissieux (Rhône) to learn here what is prohibited elsewhere: climbing trees. “In the park, when we climb, there are grannies who scold us, they shout: “Get down from there!” », reports Lyssana, whose ponytail jumps when she mimes the scene. In Champagneux (Savoie), in the holiday center of their town in the Lyon suburbs, this right is granted to children. Better yet: during the five days of the course of “tree climbing”, they are encouraged to venture ever higher, to sit astride the branches and even to reach the neighboring tree thanks to large pendulum movements.

All under the encouragement of Samuel Guetta. The leaves tangled in the curly hair of this thirty-year-old, the ease of his movement in the antlers give him the air of a forest sprite. However, the founder of the Sam’Branche association refrains from any fantasy when he chooses the tree visited, the high branches which will support the ropes, the words to introduce the little ones to putting on the safety harness and to technique allowing you to hoist yourself up with your legs, without too much effort, before gently lowering yourself back down – thanks to a self-locking knot and stirrup system.

“Diagnostic skills”

Samuel Guetta has a degree in tree climbing. It’s written in apple green on his chestnut trunk-colored fleece jacket: “educator climbs trees”, after three hundred and fifty hours of training organized by the National Union of Tree Climbers (SNGEA), under the aegis of the Ministry of Sports. Rope techniques, ethics of the relationship with the tree, plant biology… “Increasingly advanced diagnostic skills are necessary to ensure that the tree can accommodate the public”, insists Benoît Fournier, administrator of the SNGEA. Only this professional qualification certificate created in 2009 allows you to show the way to the summits for remuneration. To a group of eight people, at most.

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