YEREVAN–Since the early 1990s–Armenia Tree Project (ATP) has been successfully collaborating with local communities and institutions to plant hundreds of thousands of trees through its Community Tree Planting (CTP) program.
The CTP program begins by surveying prospective sites and communities wishing to receive trees. The program uses criteria such as the availability of irrigation water–soil quality–caretakers–and residents’ enthusiasm for planting and growing trees. With this flagship program–ATP has collaborated with people at over 500 sites in Yerevan and every region throughout Armenia–including Artsakh.
On a daily basis–three ATP monitors–Navasard Dadyan–Arthur Harutunyan–and Seyran Hovhannisyan–evaluate potential planting sites and visit sites that were planted in previous years to check growth rates and provide technical assistance. By the end of March–ATP selected 77 community sites that were eligible to receive seedlings–and had begun the process of helping residents plant nearly 25,000 new trees at schools–senior centers–orphanages–hospitals–kindergartens–and other non-profit institutions.
To ensure a high survival rate at CTP sites–ATP publishes training material on tree planting and tree care. Prior to planting–ATP distributes this information to local residents and trains them on topics such as the proper depth for planting new seedlings–how often to irrigate seedlings–and how to monitor the growth of the trees. ATP also distributes hoses–shovels–and other supplies and equipment as needed.
Sites in eight regions of Armenia–Armavir–Aragatsotn–Vayots Dzor–Shirak–Ararat–Kotayk–Syunik–and Lori–received fruit and decorative trees from ATP for village orchards–backyards–gardens–and common spaces.
"In a few years–the people in these villages will be able to reap fruitful harvests and be in a position to receive great benefits from these trees," emphasized CTP Program Manager Anahit Gharibyan. Last year alone–ATP’s trees in various communities had a harvest of over 250,000 pounds of apricots–apples–peaches–plums–and cherries.
ATP’s nurseries in the refugee villages of Karin and Khachpar produce all of the seedlings that are planted by the CTP program each year. Some of the neighborhoods in Yerevan that received trees include Malatia–Sebastia–Davitashen–Achapniak–and Zeytun Kanaker. ATP also planted trees at the State Medical University–European Regional Academy–and Genocide Memorial Park. The CTP program is planning to plant an additional 125,000 seedlings from one of ATP’s other nurseries this spring.
ATP was founded in 1994 with the vision of securing Armenia’s future by protecting its environment and restoring its degraded forests. ATP advances Armenia’s socio-economic development by mobilizing resources for large-scale reforestation–community-based tree planting–environmental education and advocacy–and rural development through job creation. ATP uses trees to improve the standard of living of Armenia’s–promoting self-sufficiency and aiding those with fewest resources first.
Over the past 12 years–ATP has planted and rejuvenated over 750,000 trees. With the establishment of the new Mirak Family reforestation nursery in Margahovit and expansion of the backyard nursery program in the Getik River Valley–ATP’s Rural and Mountainous Development (RMD) program is working toward the goal of planting over one million trees in 2006. For additional information about the RMD program and to support ATP–visit their website at www.armeniatree.org.