Armenia Tree Project has been planting trees since 1994. In 2005, ATP added environmental education as a core program area. The goal is to educate a new generation of environmental stewards in Armenia, who will take care of the trees we are planting today and have a strong awareness about issues such as global climate change, conserving water resources, the importance of forests and trees, recycling and waste management.
The program started with the publication of Armenia’s first-ever environmental education manual for teachers called “Plant an Idea, Plant a Tree.” Later we opened environmental education centers in the villages of Karin and Margahovit.
The teacher’s manual was approved for use in the schools by the Ministry of Education. ATP is the first Armenian organization to meet this need with resources and ongoing programs. Our environmental education program was selected as a national winner of the Energy Globe Award for Sustainability in Prague. The program expands its reach every year with a goal to spread environmental education and awareness to young people in all regions of Armenia.
ATP’s environmental education program has a wide range of activities and benefits. The following is an overview of the major program activities:
- Host dozens of school groups at our environmental education centers in Karin and Margahovit for tours and interactive lessons
- Organize and promote youth eco-clubs in towns and villages throughout Armenia
- Host students from the diaspora who visit Armenia as part of ATP’s Building Bridges environmental education program to plant trees with their local peers
- Organize environmental education training programs on the “Plant an Idea, Plant a Tree” manual with teachers from each of Armenia’s 12 regions
- Collaborate with coalition partners in the Environmental Education Network in Armenia
- Lead environmental education workshops at youth summer camps in Armenia
- Host volunteer trash cleanup events in the capital city of Yerevan and in rural locations for local youth and adults
- Participate in environmentally-themed festivals with environmental education and awareness raising activities and information
- Play an active role in environmental conferences happening internationally and in Armenia at venues such as American University of Armenia and the United Nations headquarters in Yerevan
In conjunction with our environmental education program in Armenia, ATP launched a similar endeavor to connect diaspora students with their environmental and cultural heritage. “Building Bridges: Connecting Diaspora Armenian Students with Their Environmental Heritage” brings environmental education into diaspora schools and links students with their counterparts in Armenia. The success of our work in Armenia will depend as much on the diaspora as it does on our environmental programs in Armenia. Environmental issues are a powerful connection between the diaspora and the citizens of Armenia and can help cultivate strong cross-cultural collaborations.
ATP reaches out to many of the 100 diasporan elementary, intermediate and high schools throughout the world, making connections, working with the administration, faculty, parents and students to implement environmental education. We encourage cross-cultural alliances which will advance a strong national appreciation.
Our goal is to thoughtfully integrate environmental education into the pre-existing curricula of diasporan schools. In doing so, we are guided by the notion that each school is different and the level of integration will vary depending on the age of the students and the human resources of the schools.
We are confident that such action will assist not only to raise the awareness of ATP, but more importantly of Armenia. We envision an Armenia where its citizens take a powerful role in determining the future development of a clean and healthy environment - an environment that encourages respect for the past with eyes on the future.