BY JASON SOHIGIAN
WOBURN, Mass.–Armenia Tree Project has released the eighth edition of its Building Bridges environmental education newsletter, focusing on the important theme of “Forest and Wildlife Preservation.”
ATP’s Building Bridges program connects diasporan students with their counterparts in Armenia and highlights Armenia’s rich natural heritage through education. Over the past nine years, it has been supported by a grant from the Thomas Kooyumjian Family Foundation.
Armenia has declared 2019 to be the “Year of the Caucasian Leopard,” and this magnificent animal is featured in the newsletter with a camera trap photo captured by experts at WWF Armenia. The Caucasian Leopard is a subspecies listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Recently, a leopard nicknamed “Leo/Neo” has found his way back home to Armenia’s famed Khosrov Forest.
“You can learn more about Leo/Neo, cool environmental facts presented in a format similar to National Geographic Kids, and much more in our newsletter,” explains Sarah Hayes, one of the authors of the publication. The illustrations and characters have been developed by artist Alik Arzoumanian. The newsletter features stories with characters like Aram, Maral, and Tchalo, a gampr dog who has been teaching about fire prevention over the past year.
The ATP newsletter also includes a feature called the coin box challenge. “The publication has a foldable donation box inside, which encourages young people to get involved and take action. We give them an option to collect small sums of money from their community which is used to support ATP’s programs in Armenia,” says Hayes. “This fosters a sense of paying it forward, which is important and gratifying at the same time.”
“So, what is the coin box challenge? When students send their donation boxes in to ATP’s headquarters in Woburn, our executive director Jeanmarie Papelian will send them a Building Bridges certificate. We also offer to feature the student on our website in recognition of his or her volunteer efforts,” adds Hayes.
ATP will highlight the student who raises the most money with a feature story in the next edition of the Building Bridges newsletter. The winner of the coin bank challenge will be announced in September.
The illustrated Building Bridges newsletter is distributed free of charge to Armenian students across North America, in Armenia, and other countries where ATP has partner schools. It is available in PDF format on the ATP website, and hard copies are available for free by contacting ATP’s Woburn office at [email protected] or (617) 926-TREE.