by Jeanmarie Papelian
That's the question I've heard most often from friends and colleagues after the centennial commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. Well, we have an answer: plant a tree to remember your past and create a green future for Armenia. In remembrance of the Armenian Genocide, we are proud to announce the launch of a major multi-year campaign: The Living Century Initiative.
Through the Living Century Initiative, we are establishing 10 forests in northern Armenia that are aligned with the major Western Armenian communities that were devastated by the Genocide. We invite you to join Armenians from around the world to sponsor trees in living memory and in honor of your relatives and their ancestral communities. Living Century gives you the opportunity to plant the new Adana, Kharpert or Marash forest, or wherever your family roots may have been.
Please consider a gift of $100 to sponsor a Cluster of trees, $200 for a Grove, $800 for an Arbor of trees, or even a single tree for $20. Your support will underwrite our plantings for the Living Century Initiative in the upcoming fall planting season and beyond. You could plant a tree for each family member or in support of the initiative for other occasions like birthdays or anniversaries.
ATP has planted more than 4.7 million trees in over 1,000 locations throughout Armenia and Artsakh. These locations include Nor Kharpert, Musa Ler, and Zeytoun - transplanted names from communities in historic Armenia.
We've already had a busy year. This spring we've planted 58,000 trees including nearly 5,000 fruit trees. This work was conducted at 134 locations (churches, refugee villages, schools and museums); of these, 41 were new planting sites.
We have an ambitious goal to plant 300,000 trees by year's end, including 250,000 forestry seedlings as part of the Living Century Initiative. Won't you join us in this effort?
The 10 Living Century forest sites correspond to regions in historic Armenia and will be planted in the Shirak, Lori and Kotayk regions of modern Armenia. They focus on areas where ATP has been planting forests since 2004. Our team has met with the local community leaders, and they are excited to work with us to establish these new forests as links to our ancestral homeland.
I had the privilege to visit one of the new planting sites last month with outgoing director Tom Garabedian. Tom's grandparents came to America from Kharpert, and we kicked off the Living Century Initiative by planting a few trees in the new Kharpert memorial forest in Arevashogh. This site in the Lori region is dedicated to families whose ancestors hailed from Kharpert before the Genocide.
We hope you will join us in this celebration of life and perseverance through the planting of new forests throughout Armenia.
We have launched a new website (www.livingcentury.org) dedicated to the Living Century Initiative where you can read more about the campaign, learn about the historic Armenian communities and make a gift to help populate these new forests and support this effort.
On the website you can select your ancestral city, town or village, or make a general donation to any of these new planting sites. Please give generously to the Living Century Initiative.
I am humbled to be a part of ATP's mission to honor our past by planting for the future, and extend my greetings and thanks in my first letter to you. We will be sure to keep you updated on our progress as this campaign rolls out in this milestone 2015 year and beyond.