YEREVAN–Armenia Tree Project (ATP) has once again successfully accomplished its greening mission through its flagship Community Tree Planting Program. This spring season, tree plantings, site maintenance, and monitoring were conducted at 94 sites in 12 regions including Artsakh. Already this year, 28,422 fruit and decorative trees have been planted from seedlings grown in ATP’s Karin and Khachpar nurseries.
“This year, we decided to make it a priority to allocate trees to those communities which demonstrated exceptional motivation and a caring attitude towards these environmental restoration projects,” stated ATP Executive Director Jeff Masarjian. “In these places where people were taking extra care in their orchards, we measured very high survival rates. In many communities the survival rate of trees was observed to be 98-99 percent.”
“In the communities that partner with ATP, people recognize and understand the importance of our trees. The population appreciates the work that ATP does and the mission that our project has been carrying out since 1994,” added Community Tree Planting Program Manager Anahit Gharibyan. “In addition, local authorities express their appreciation and take responsibility when it comes to developing and beautifying their community territories, as they know that trees will provide a range of economic and environmental benefits.”
ATP participated in a number of ceremonial plantings this spring, including a tree planting with the Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan at the Tsitsernakaberd Genocide Memorial on April 23, and a planting in the park behind the new Paramaz Avedisian Building on the campus of American University of Armenia.
The planting at AUA was accomplished with the assistance of staff and students including representatives from the Acopian Center for the Environment. Twenty five ninth grade students and two teachers from School No. 10 also participated in the planting. The school is supported by Ed Avedisian, who is also a benefactor of AUA and ATP. A total of 497 decorative trees and shrubs were planted on the AUA site in April.
“We have come together for one of the most important actions as part of the Paramaz Avedisian Building project and that is the tree planting and setting of the park territory behind the building. This area was used for over four years as a construction site and now the time has come to decorate and give it a face. This endeavor is essential and it would not be possible without the coordination and valuable assistance from Armenia Tree Project,” emphasized Construction Manager Faraj Yeretsian.
“We were pleased that the tree planting at AUA united schoolchildren, teachers, university students, and staff. It is noteworthy that the event was undertaken on April 22, which is internationally recognized as Earth Day,” added Gharibyan. “This planting involved the participation of our Community Tree Planting and Environmental Education programs, since our education director Manya Gevorgyan worked closely with the teachers and schoolchildren in advance of the day’s planting.”
Many of the AUA volunteers who had never planted a tree before were trained by ATP staff in proper planting techniques. University staff and other volunteers participating in the event were enthusiastic and declared that they were looking forward to coming back to the site next year to observe how well their planted trees had grown, and to enjoy the view of the new green landscape.
Similar tree plantings were organized by ATP at other institutions, schools, churches, and orphanages in Yerevan and Armenia’s regions this spring. Several sites that were beautified by ATP this spring include the Institute of Molecular Biology, Mkhitar Sebastasti Education Complex, Nansen Park in Yerevan, Nor Nork Boarding School, and St. Sarkis Church in Yerevan.
“ATP is proud of its Community Tree Planting Program, since it provides high quality fruit and decorative trees to rural and urban communities every season. We are also working on a large-scale initiative to plant more than one million reforestation seedlings in the Lori region this year,” noted Masarjian. “We will announce our progress in the fall, and we are actively seeking the support of our donors to help ensure the success of this program in our 15th anniversary year.”
Since 1994, Armenia Tree Project has planted and restored more than 3,000,000 trees and created hundreds of jobs for impoverished Armenians in tree-regeneration programs. The organization’s three tiered initiatives are tree planting, community development to reduce poverty and promote self-sufficiency, and environmental education to protect Armenia’s precious natural resources. For additional information and to support ATP, visit the web site www.armeniatree.org.