YEREVAN--This spring, Armenia Tree Project (ATP) planted another 87,724 trees at 113 sites across the country and established a new public park in Ashtarak.
However, rejoicing in the season was difficult when there was widespread "deep pruning" of trees and reports of continued logging. The public was left dumbfounded from scenes of headless and wounded mature trees around Yerevan. In addition, the media shed light on tree cutting in protected areas. One of the places where logging was reported was Dilijan National Park, where several healthy trees were chopped down and an investigation is pending.
"At this rate we need to act without delay and work together for any hope of saving our homeland from grim springs in the future," emphasizes Executive Director Jeanmarie Papelian. "By end of spring, the total number of trees we’ve planted since 1994 is 5,304,224! That's 5,304,224 expressions of hope in Armenia's future. It's something we can all be proud of, and it will deliver benefits locally and globally for many years to come."
ATP's Community Tree Planting division planted 23,617 at 110 sites in every region including Artsakh. From the total, 3,456 were fruit trees which are always popular at public sites.
On Earth Day, a major planting event was organized at Zvartnots Cathedral, where participants made pledges to help save the environment. What’s more, a new public park was established in Ashtarak, near Karin Village where ATP's flagship tree nursery is located. The park was inaugurated by students from New Jersey's Hovnanian School and Yerevan's European School, who planted the first trees along the boundary of the park.
"The park in Ashtarak is the first of its kind for us. We've planted groves, forests and even helped green parks before but this will be our first new park in the very sense of the word," explains Deputy Director Arthur Harutyunyan. "We’re going to install benches, walking paths, a roundabout and even a bike stand. The park will give us the opportunity to concentrate trees in one place where they can be named and gifted, while providing a recreational area for the new community that will shape around the park."
ATP's Forestry department had a productive season with favorable weather conditions allowing the team to plant 64,107 trees. The plantings took place in the northern towns of Tashir and Stepanavan. About 40 residents, who were provided with temporary jobs, came to ensure their descendants would have green spaces and clean air to breathe.
"I worked with my hands, I put my sweat and my heart into it. It’s like this forest is my own," said Viola Kazarov, one of the planters in Tashir.
"This fall, our Forestry and CTP teams plan to plant another 150,000 trees, so there's lots to be done in terms of site selection, training of local tree planters, and preparing sites with fencing and irrigation to make sure the trees will have a strong survival rate," adds Papelian.
"Going green and sustainability have become popular buzzwords and are a way of life for many of us. By supporting ATP, you are riding the wave of environmentalism that respects life on our planet today, and into the future," she concludes.