ATP in massive spring planting campaign throughout Armenia
Published: Thursday May 31, 2012
Yerevan - Armenia Tree Project (ATP) has recently completed its spring programs after planting a total of 233,466 trees throughout the country.
The total includes 140,366 seedlings planted in the town of Saratovka in northern Armenia, 51,100 seedlings that were provided to communities to establish new forested areas, and 42,000 fruit and decorative trees planted at 118 sites in 11 regions.
ATP continues to cooperate with new programs established in Armenia. In April, ATP provided seedlings and professional expertise in planting trees and shrubs in the yard of the new Ayb High School in Yerevan's Kanaker-Zeytun district. Teachers, students, friends, and parents joined ATP to plant 905 trees and shrubs on the school grounds.
"The Ayb High School combines the best of Armenian schooling traditions and contemporary learning technologies. The school has built a new culture of learning to raise the competitiveness of Armenian education. This ambitious initiative is deeply valued by ATP, as it shares our mission of educating younger generations," explains Community Tree Planting program manager Arthur Harutyunyan, who led the tree planting at the school.
One of ATP's other exciting projects was joining the Barekamavan Development Project on the Tavush border. "Barekamavan Village is on the Azeri border and is extremely poor. From 200 families, only half still live in the village, so it was a priority for us to start working in this village," notes Harutyunyan.
With the help of the Armenian communities in Ireland and Dubai and the support of organizations such as AGBU and Macademias, three greenhouses were built for families in Barekamavan. "With the income they get from the crops, they will be more encouraged to stay in the village, raise their children here, and ensure a strong presence in this strategic border community," adds Harutyunyan.
ATP provided 206 pear, apple, almond, and cherry trees to families in Barekamavan, and 30 evergreens were planted around the local church yard.
"ATP has made it a priority to provide the majority of its fruit trees to people in the poorest and most disadvantaged communities," Harutyunyan emphasizes. ATP also provided fruit and nut trees to needy communities in Ghursali, Nerkin Khndzoresk, Lernamerdz, and Teghenik.
ATP's SEEDS team established new forest areas in the northern community of Saratovka, located several miles from Stepanavan. ATP launched an exciting program in 2011 known as SEEDS, or "Social, Economic, and Environmental Development for Sustainability."
"There were no trees or forested areas near Saratovka. Therefore, we hope the people here will make use of the fruit trees and enjoy the greenery in their community," notes SEEDS program manager Vardan Melikyan. The new forest was established with oak, pine, ash, apple, and pear trees. It is located near a lake which will create beautiful scenery and serve as a shelter for various water birds.
The planting in Saratovka was implemented by seasonal workers hired by ATP from Vanadzor and neighboring villages, many of whom were Armenian refugees from Azerbaijan. Within the framework of ATP's community forests program, 41,100 tree seedlings were provided for planting in Teghenik, Karenis, and Tsakhkunq, and another 10,000 seedlings were provided to the city of Chambarak in the Gegharkunik region.
Earth Day in Kotayk with US Embassy and United Nations
The celebration of Earth Day is gaining in popularity at a rapid pace in Armenia. This year, Armenia Tree Project (ATP) celebrated by planting trees in the community of Teghenik in the Kotayk region. On Friday, April 20, the US Embassy in Armenia and the United Nations joined ATP to plant a cluster of decorative and fruit trees in Teghenik.
"Our goal in planting is to restore green spaces throughout Armenia to provide valuable environmental services including clean air, soil retention, and shade during hot summers," noted ATP Managing Director Tom Garabedian.
"The Kotayk region had significant greenery some 150-200 years ago. These planting activities offset the impacts of deforestation, and the creation of green spaces represents an important step in the improvement of the environment and quality of life in the region."
US Ambassador to Armenia John Heffern joined his colleagues from the Embassy and took part in ATP's Earth Day tree planting. "This year I'm honored to join Armenia Tree Project in Teghenik to mark Earth Day. The trees we plant here will improve the environment and help highlight the necessity of maintaining our natural surroundings," stated Ambassador Heffern.
The trees were planted as part of ATP's innovative "community forests"program, which was initiated in 2011. "The aim of this new program is to create small community forests in areas that are deprived of any green zones and nearby forests," explained Garabedian. "ATP identifies affected areas and partners with the local authorities to establish these community forests. While the trees are provided by ATP, the local community invests resources in planting and long-term maintenance of the trees on their land. The program was designed with sustainability in mind."
This program started with planting at sites in Karenis and Teghenik in the Kotayk region, where nearly 6,000 trees were planted in 2011. "The program has been successful so far, and we have received requests from other community leaders who want to establish small forests in their villages," added Garabedian. "This Earth Day tree planting was part of ATP's mission to green Armenia, and we look forward to expanding these partnerships."
Schoolchildren and other members of the local community participated in the planting along with guests from various organizations and international institutions. A total of 2,000 decorative and fruit seedlings were planted for Earth Day. The new forest includes oak, pine, ash, pear, and apple trees.