by Sarah Hayes, West Coast Operations Manager
After witnessing unprecedented hurricanes and the spread of wildfires in the US and Armenia this summer, the message is clear. We must act now to protect the environment.
ATP works to inspire the next generation of leaders who know about environmental issues and are geared toward problem solving and taking action. Education is one of our core programs in Armenia, and in recent years we’ve expanded to include Armenian youth in the diaspora as part of our Building Bridges program.
The Building Bridges newsletter (PDF available here) is just one tool for outreach to youth. The seventh edition is focused entirely on climate change. The target audience is young diasporans.
Building Bridges is sponsored by a grant from the Thomas A. Kooyumjian Family Foundation, which supports programs for Armenian-American youth. We are building on its success, and collaborating across the span of continents. The youth newsletter addresses global climate change and narrows in on environmental and climate related challenges in Armenia. I developed it in partnership with illustrator Alik Arzoumanian.
I hope you will share it with your favorite young person. Thanks to the Kooyumjians, the publication is distributed free of charge to Armenian students across the United States. Our goal is to expand the Building Bridges network to reach Armenian students across the world. In fact, this month we received a grant from the Synopsys Foundation to make the Building Bridges publications available in Armenia as well.
ATP's Building Bridges program was selected as the National Winner for Armenia of the prestigious Energy Globe Award this year. We take it as a sign that we are moving in the right direction. I invite you to support ATP because every one of us needs to take action, whether it’s fighting climate change or helping to put food on the table for a poor family in one of our villages.
We're teaching our youth about philanthropy and giving back. In this edition of the Building Bridges newsletter we enclosed a coin bank for kids to collect money to sponsor trees. Trees are one of the most practical and cost efficient methods to fight climate change because they remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which helps to reduce the greenhouse effect warming our planet and causing more extreme weather events. I hope you will agree on the importance of teaching responsible stewardship of our planet to children.
Please consider a gift this fall in support of our education programs. A donation of $250 will help two students attend our summer eco camps in Armenia's villages. A gift of $500 will sponsor a workshop for teachers to use our "Plant an Idea, Plant a Tree" curriculum in their classroom.
In Armenia our environmental educational offerings are very popular. Our new program manager Kristine Hovsepyan is a dynamic, highly motivated young woman who has already expanded the program by leaps and bounds.
Here's some of Kristine's feedback on the camps: "We reached 190 children for four days in Margahovit, Goris, Kapan, Dzorakap, and Yeghegnadzor. Through hands-on sessions and field trips to examine nature, we taught children about the environment and inspired them to care about the issues affecting it. Additionally, the children made new friends, gained team-building skills, and most importantly had a ton of fun."
"In the fight against climate change, everyone can contribute to reducing our carbon footprint, take inspiration from our Get Rooted slogan, and plant more trees," wrote Kristine in an update to sponsors of the eco camps.
Until recently, visits to ATP's nurseries had been one of Armenia's "best kept secrets." This past year, we hosted 10 tours of our gorgeous nursery in Karin Village. We now offer tree planting for visitors at a new park in nearby Ashtarak. We've also started a partnership with Vozkevaz Winery to include a wine tasting after the visit to Karin Nursery. If you're planning a trip to Armenia, be sure to contact us so we can coordinate a visit.
We've got ambitious plans in Armenia this fall. Our forestry department is hiring dozens of workers to plant 140,000 trees in northern Armenia. The Community Tree Planting team will plant more than 25,000 trees at 85 sites. Some of the trees will come from our backyard nursery micro-enterprise program, where we purchase them from families who grow the trees for ATP. It's a win-win for people and the environment.
By the end of the year, we will have planted more than 5.4 million trees since 1994! And none of this would be possible without your support, so thank you.