September 30, 2015
YEREVAN--Armenia Tree Project (ATP) has continued to open its doors to the public with tours and volunteer events geared toward trees, supporting green jobs, and a healthy environment.
On September 26, ATP organized a public cleanup in a beautiful pine grove in Mirak Village, near Aparan. "This forest is a popular place for barbeques and picnicking," explained Country Director Lucineh Kassarjian. "Unfortunately, people often leave their trash behind so our goal was to remove the excessive litter from the forest."
More than 70 volunteers gathered at Republic Square to make the trip to Aparan on a bus provided by ATP and do some good for the environment.
The cleanup was also attended by students from Nairi Zaryan School No. 130 and the Avedisian School, after they participated in an ATP environmental education workshop at the AMAA's summer camp in Hankavan.
Karine Manukyan, the vice-principal of School No. 130, had planted trees in the same grove when she was a student. "I hope that one day my students will remember how they cleaned this place up, just as I remember planting here," said Manukyan.
The results of the cleanup were so invigorating that the participants were inspired to create an art piece of their own on the spot. A giant early Christmas tree was built out of the green garbage bags and ornaments were replaced by red gloves. ATP's environmental education team also set up an interactive corner with activities related to recycling for children and adults.
"The entire trip was only about a half day for the volunteers, but the difference it made in the appearance of the site was clearly visible," emphasized Kassarjian. "We would like to thank everyone for helping clean the grove and giving it a chance to grow to its full potential."
This fall, ATP organized its first public tour of the Karin Nursery. Tours of the nurseries have been a well-kept secret for years, organized for supporters and friends who are in touch with the organization or who have read about ATP in the media or in the Stone Garden travel guide to Armenia.
The inaugural Green Tour was held on September 24, opening the doors of Karin Nursery to the public. The excursions were hosted by Nursery Manager Samvel Ghandilyan and Chief Propagator Tigran Palazyan, who introduced guests to the workers at the nursery and showed them around the grounds where more than 50 varieties of native fruit and decorative trees are being propagated.
The visitors were local residents and guests from countries including Lebanon, Canada and Germany. A group of eighth grade students from Yerevan's Vartanants Aspetner School were also at the nursery for an environmental education lesson.
Karin Nursery was established in Aragatsotn in 1996 soon after the founding of ATP. It provides about half of the 60,000 fruit and decorative trees planted by the Community Tree Planting program each year. The other nurseries are in Khachpar Village and in Margahovit Village, where the Mirak Family Reforestation Nursery was set up to produce hundreds of thousands of seedlings for planting in northern Armenia.
Since its inception in 1994, ATP has planted more than 4.7 million trees, established three nurseries and two environmental education centers, and has greened villages, churches, parks, and open spaces throughout Armenia. In the process, the organization has provided employment for hundreds of people and provided vital resources to thousands of villagers. The organization's current campaign is the Living Century Initiative, launched to commemorate the centennial of the Armenian Genocide. For more information, visit www.livingcentury.org.