by Jeanmarie Papelian
When we plant trees at a memorial site in Armenia, focus is often on the meaning the site has to family and individuals closely affiliated with the person being memorialized. As with any permanent legacy, it is seen as a reminder of the lasting impact that someone will always have on our history and heritage.
At ATP we visualize a deeper connection between a legacy and the land, and regard a memorial as not only a symbol of the past, but a living and breathing manifestation of the unity that a legacy -- and its spirit -- shares with the earth. It is this unity that enables us to maintain our aspirations and continue in our efforts to create a greener, healthier, and more prosperous homeland.
ATP's beautification of the Bash Aparan memorial site this past May -- home to the victory that General Drastamat "Dro" Kanayan so bravely brought us to in May 1918 -- is an illustration of the fundamental connection that exists between our survival as an independent people and nation, and the ability of the land in Armenia to provide the natural resources necessary to sustain an ecosystem which allows its inhabitants to live and prosper.
Our team of environmental experts surveyed the site in 2016 and laid out a tree and shrub planting scheme that would amplify the beauty of the area while providing a harmonious experience for visitors to the victorious site. The ATP team takes seriously our role as ambassadors; entrusted to make the connection between people and land, and green a landscape that will live and thrive forever.
The conclusion we can make from Bash Aparan is simple: we cannot have sustainability without continuous resources; water, trees, air quality, and the perpetuation of natural species which are fundamental contributors to our national security, our independence, and our prosperity.
The planting at Bash Aparan does not only honor our past, but also marks our existence in the present and our permanence for the future. I hope that the next 25 years of AT'’s work will realize an even stronger connection between our legacies and our land, and an exponentially greater commitment to the protection of the Armenian environment, the preservation of Armenia's natural resources, and the security of sustainable and thriving communities. Ultimately, the trees we plant throughout the country are a "living" memorial to Armenia -- past, present, and future.