Armenia Tree Project (ATP) was founded in 1994 by philanthropist Carolyn Mugar. During the winter of 1992 while visiting Armenia, Ms. Mugar saw that families desperate to heat their homes were burning their own furniture, and thousands of trees were being cut for fuel. She decided to commit towards preventing further deforestation in Armenia.
In order to research and develop a plan to found an organization that would work towards realizing her goals, she turned to Regina Eddy, who was an experienced developer of non-governmental organization (NGO) programs. Ms. Eddy agreed to serve as ATP’s Executive Director, and in late 1993 they traveled to Armenia to hire a staff. ATP’s efforts in Armenia were officially launched with the start of the first tree-planting project at the Nork Senior Center in the spring of 1994. The organization was established as a project of the Armenian Assembly of America.
During the course of an eight-year time span, thousands of trees were planted in Armenian communities throughout the country under the Sponsor-A-Tree program, two state-of-the-art nurseries were opened in Karin and Khachpar, several forest rejuvenation programs were implemented in Tsitsernakaberd Park and elsewhere, and a database containing over 7,000 donors was created.
In 2001, Jeff Masarjian joined Armenia Tree Project as Executive Director, replacing Ms. Eddy, and began to redirect ATP’s goals towards more aggressive, all-encompassing reforestation efforts, aimed at rehabilitating devastated rural and urban areas and providing Armenian citizens with the resources as well as incentive for redeveloping their immediate environments. Specifically, visionary programs have been launched in Aygut in the vicinity of Lake Sevan and in Vanadzor, the third largest city in Armenia, located in the Lori region.