By Jeanmarie Papelian
Thanks to your support, Armenia Tree Project has completed its twenty-first year of positive change in Armenia. Some of our accomplishments include:
- Planting trees throughout Armenia and Karabagh/li>
- Operating three nurseries providing meaningful jobs to hundreds of local workers
- Educating thousands of children in Armenia and the US about environmental issues
- Training hundreds of teachers in our environmental curriculum
- Organizing community cleanups in Yerevan and Aparan
We continue to make progress toward our goal of a sustainable and green Armenia. But we can't do it without you. We hope you will stay involved and help us to do even more to improve Armenia's environment.
As Armenians worldwide commemorated the centennial of the genocide, ATP launched the Living Century Initiative to honor our past and create a green future. We established ten new forests in northern Armenia that are aligned with the major Western Armenian communities devastated by the genocide. My family remembered my grandfather by donating trees to be planted in the Sebastia memorial forest in Akunk village in the Kotayk region. Many of you have already joined the Living Century Initiative's celebration of life and perseverance. You can learn more at www.livingcentury.org.
Our team is planting trees in communities throughout Armenia as I write, and we're expecting to plant nearly a quarter of a million trees this year. This will bring the number of trees planted by ATP, as a direct result of YOUR support, to close to 5,000,000.
To complement the Living Century Initiative, our 2016 calendar focuses on beautiful places in Western Armenia. Author and photographer Matthew Karanian partnered with us to prepare this gorgeous calendar. With a donation of $100 or more we will send you a calendar in thanks for your support.
As we think about our mission and strategic direction moving forward, I am reminded of this Chinese proverb, which summarizes our belief in the importance of environmental education: "If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people."
As you know, for the past ten years education has been one of our core program areas. Children in Armenia and the diaspora will be the stewards of our environmental future. ATP plays a leading role in environmental education and our Building Bridges program teaches diasporan children important lessons about protecting the global environment.
The trees we plant, the jobs we create, the children we teach are all a testament to the world that Armenia is growing and thriving. Thank you for supporting ATP, and best wishes for a happy new year.