Armenia Tree Project and Peace Corps Armenia Co-Host Environmental Education Workshop
YEREVAN--The first Environmental Education Conference/Workshop, initiated and implemented by Armenia Tree Project (ATP) and US Peace Corps Armenia, was held on February 25-26 at the offices of ATP in Yerevan.
The objectives of the conference
were to share information about environmental
education, build solid working relationships
between Armenian NGOs and Peace Corps volunteers
working in environmental education, and
The conference coordinators were Armen Tiraturyan, US Peace Corps Armenia Environmental Education Program Manager, Anahit Gharibyan, ATP Community Tree Planting Manager, and Karla M. Wesley, Environmental Education consultant.
Conference attendees heard outstanding presentations by environmentalists and environmental education trainers from local and international organizations. Among the speakers were Peace Corps volunteers, ATP agriculture specialists, forestry experts from the Armenian Agricultural Academy, and educators from Birds of Armenia Project, Environmental Public Advocacy Center, World Wildlife Fund in Armenia, and Women for Green Way for Generations NGO.
Participants witnessed a sample lesson on tree grafting prepared by ATP, took an active part in a roundtable discussion on overcoming the social and economic barriers to environmental education in Armenia, and were involved in a brainstorming session to identify common environmental education goals for NGOs and Peace Corps volunteers.
In her welcoming speech, ATP Foundation President Susan Yacubian Klein touched on the importance of environmental education programs. "Ecology in Armenia is on a path of devastation," noted Ms. Klein. "While at the turn of the 20th century forest cover in Armenia was estimated at 25 percent, in 1990 it decreased to 12 percent, and now, due to large-scale cutting, it is estimated that Armenia has only eight percent of forest cover left. Within as few as 20 years, the forests may be completely gone. We are facing a wide range of dangers related to this, which people need to become aware of."
"The environmental education workshop organized by Armenia Tree Project and the US Peace Corps is the best way to keep people informed. There is great hope being generated at the conference to continue working together to neutralize barriers and to combat current environmental problems more effectively," stated Ms. Klein.
"It was remarkable that
participating organizations and independent
environmentalists came together for two days
of impassioned discussions and brainstorming--not
to conflict or compete with each other--but
to share concerns and opinions, learn and be
inspired by each other, and seek positive solutions
for the future of the environment," added