Did you know that people throw away 5,000 tons of plastic bottles in Armenia every year? That’s 10 million pounds of waste!
Since Armenia Tree Project made environmental education one of our strategic priorities back in 2005, we’ve raised awareness about facts like this among the youth in Armenia. We cover a range of issues from Armenia’s landscapes, rich biodiversity, endangered species, forests, water resources, and recycling.
We operate environmental education centers in two different regions of Armenia, which have been generously supported by Michael and Virginia Ohanian and Family in Boston. One critical resource we produced is Armenia’s first teacher’s manual for environmental education, called “Plant an Idea, Plant a Tree.” In partnership with the National Institute of Education, we have trained more than 1,000 teachers from every region of Armenia on how to bring environmental education to life.
And why did we start to dedicate some of our attention to education when there was still a huge need for trees? Very simply, we recognized that Armenia’s next generation will be stewards of the trees we are planting today! We’ve also found, like you I’m sure, that the youth really seem to “get it” when it comes to environmental protection.
In recognition of our successes with tree planting and education, please consider a donation this fall to support our programs. Your gift supports not only tree planting, but all of our programs that promote environmental awareness and sustainable resource use.
Several years ago, we realized that students in the diaspora would benefit from the educational material that we’ve produced. This led to the launch of the Building Bridges program in 2010 designed specifically for students in the United States! In the past four years, we’ve made dozens of presentations about Armenia’s environment and natural heritage to diasporan schools in the US.
Under the auspices of Building Bridges, we have published a series of colorful newsletters for schoolchildren ages 8-12 and distributed thousands of copies in schools across the diaspora. The newsletter has been a wonderful collaboration among project manager Sarah Hayes, education consultant Nayiri Haroutunian, and award-winning illustrator Alik Arzoumanian.
One of the exciting things about Building Bridges is that the program is underwritten by the Thomas A. Kooyumjian Family Foundation, so all of your support goes directly to planting trees and teaching environmental education in Armenia!
The first three editions of the Building Bridges newsletter have focused on trees. This year’s newsletter addresses another issue that I’m sure you have noticed if you have visited Armenia. Armenia is known for its beautiful landscapes and natural beauty, but even some of its most popular tourist sites are affected by trash and littering. So this edition deals with trash and recycling, as a way of promoting environmental awareness and stewardship. It’s filled with facts, games, puzzles, and illustrations featuring Aram from Watertown, Massachusetts and Maral from Karin Village where we have a nursery in Armenia!
We’ve also harnessed the power of video to engage and motivate our youth to tackle environmental problems that Armenia and the world face. We produced a Building Bridges film called “Something New” that will be screened in schools throughout the US and internationally. The film is available to you online along with the Building Bridges newsletter.
As you read this letter, our fall tree planting plans are underway throughout Armenia. Our reforestation department is planting 120,000 trees and 50,000 acorns at two large sites in Lori. The trees are oak, maple, pear, and apple. Meanwhile, our Community Tree Planting department is planting more than 24,000 high quality fruit and decorative trees at 70 sites all over Armenia.
If you find this work worthy of your support, please consider a donation to ATP so that we can continue our tree planting, reforestation, and environmental education efforts. A gift of $100 will sponsor a Cluster of trees, $200 will plant a Grove, $800 is for an Arbor of trees, or you can select any amount you find suitable.
Your donation will be allocated directly to our programs in Armenia, which provide green jobs, fruit and decorative trees in rural villages, and education for future generations. These programs work hand-in-hand together to produce benefits that are local and global. Everyone benefits.
Thank you for your belief in our mission in Armenia. As always, I will keep you informed of our progress.
PS: Our work is about more than trees. As a direct result of your support, we provide full-time jobs for 60 people in Armenia at our nurseries and education centers. This fall we will hire another 60-70 workers to plant our trees. Please give generously this fall so that can continue this good work.