by Kristine Hovsepyan
YEREVAN--They say autumn carries more gold in its pocket than any other season. This is especially true for Armenia Tree Project this fall, with a full agenda of tree plantings and other programs.
In September, ATP was awarded Best Environmental Project by the tourism magazine "Armenia Turisticheskaya" at its third annual awards ceremony. "It was an honor to be a contender with so many wonderful organizations, and, of course, be chosen as the best," noted Country Director Lucineh Kassarjian. "We are thrilled to be recognized for leadership in greening Armenia and spreading a much needed environmental philosophy in Armenia."
ATP joined the “Ecopreneurs for the Climate” movement, a week of climate innovation labs and the Climate Champion Awards taking place in cities around the world (see website ecopreneurs4climate.org). The goal of Ecopreneurs for the Climate is to scale up green business solutions that tackle climate change. The Yerevan event will take place on October 24 at Impact Hub Yerevan, at which one of Armenia’s local ecopreneurs and social activists will be nominated for participation in the next global climate change conference in Marrakesh.
ATP often participates in environment-related festivals. Recently, ATP joined the Green Lane agricultural assistance NGO with an environmental education booth at the Rural Life and Traditions Festival.
Public trash cleanups are also a large part of ATP's mission. "We take pride in planting trees, but trash cleanups are another way to give a breath of life to public spaces which are drowning in litter," stated Community Tree Planting monitor Alexander Mirzoyan. "Cleanups allow ATP to involve members of the public who want to help." This fall ATP "liberated" several groves of trees in cleanups with volunteers from Synopsys Armenia CJSC and Birthright Armenia.
"Every September is a community service month for Synopsys all over the world," explained Synopsys Armenia PR manager and Community Projects leader Gayane Markosyan. "This year is special as we celebrate the company's 30th anniversary, so 70 employees got together to clean up the pine groves in Mirak community. We appreciate our exceptional partnership with ATP and their committed and professional approach to joint events."
ATP launched a series of "Get Rooted" tours of its nursery in Karin Village this year. The spring tours were hugely popular with dozens of visitors. The next Karin tours will take place on October 1 and October 21. RSVP details are listed on ATP’s Facebook page, and the tours are open to the public with a suggested donation of $20.
Many people contact ATP about planting trees, so public tree plantings are held several times a year. The next planting event is planned for November, depending on weather. "We will organize a volunteer tree planting day in November, which is done when the seedlings are dormant for the season," explained Mirzoyan. "Thousands of new trees are ready to disperse all over Armenia and Artsakh. Watch our Facebook page, and we’ll post the exact date in the coming weeks."
This fall, ATP will plant 200,000 trees including new forestry seedlings and fruit and decorative trees in every region of Armenia and Artsakh.
Armenia Tree Project has planted more than five million trees since its inception in 1994. The organization is the only major tree planting program in the country and in its 22 years has successfully established four nurseries, two environmental education centers and has greened community areas in every province of Armenia and Artsakh. In the process, ATP has provided employment for hundreds of people and provided vital resources to thousands of village residents. For more information, visit the website armeniatree.org.