Armenia Tree Project wraps up spring planting season with seven million trees

The seven millionth symbolic tree of ATP was planted with Founder Carolyn Mugar, Executive Director Jeanmarie Papelian, ATP Board of Directors with guests of the ATP Armenia Tour on June 22 at the Michael and Virginia Ohanian Center for Environmental Studies in Margahovit, Lori.

Armenia Tree Project (ATP) celebrated another milestone by planting seven million trees since its inception in 1994. The symbolic tree was planted with Founder Carolyn Mugar, Executive Director Jeanmarie Papelian, the Board of Directors of ATP and guests of the ATP Armenia Tour on June 22 at the Michael and Virginia Ohanian Center for Environmental Studies in Margahovit, Lori.

The seven millionth tree culminates the ambitious spring 2022 planting season across all ATP divisions which together serve the people of Armenia to raise their standard of living and protect the global environment.

One of the most publicly visible programs, this spring ATP’s Community Tree Program (CTP) provided 35,345 fruit and decorative trees and shrubs to 147 sites, including schools and education centers, public parks , hospitals and medical clinics, churches, pilgrimage and historical sites. in the 10 provinces of Armenia as well as in the Artsakh provinces of Martuni and Askeran. Fifty-seven of these sites were new to participate in the CTP this year, resulting in more than 1,500 sites across Armenia and Artsakh. ATP staff work with local people and regularly monitor to ensure the highest survival rates and provide technical assistance to families or institutions receiving trees.

ATP has partnered with a number of local and international organizations, businesses and individuals to plant community trees this spring, including Birthright Armenia, Little Singers of Armenia, US Embassy Green Team, VMware Armenia, Bureau Veritas Group Armenia BIVAC Armenia CJSC, Talk Desk, AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School, St. Stephen’s Armenian Day School, Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) interns, Fuller House Center volunteers and group youth from St. Gregory of Narek Armenian Church.

On the borders of Armenia, ATP has distributed several thousand fruit trees to villagers living in the regions of Tavush, Syunik as well as in Artsakh. Two- to three-year-old fruit trees serve multiple purposes as they mature, especially in border villages. Fruit trees grow to create natural barriers to protect residents and protect the community, while fruit is a source of food and income.

ATP’s supply of trees used throughout Armenia and Artsakh comes from its four nurseries in the villages of Karin, Khachpar, Chiva and Margahovit, which together supply more than 90 varieties of fruit trees and shrubs and decorative. The nurseries serve as field research stations for advanced tree propagation, grafting techniques, irrigation methodologies, and environmental education for students, professionals, and local farmers. A new nursery is under construction in Gyumri in partnership with the EU-funded project “EU4Environment: Green Community, Resilient Future”.

As one of Armenia’s largest NGO employers of full-time and seasonal workers, ATP provides stable income to individuals and families. This spring, ATP hired 154 seasonal workers to support our spring planting season in our nurseries, as well as to plant forests. ATP’s forestry division, with the help of seasonal workers, planted 175,162 trees in five forests located in Kotayk, Shirak, Lori and Tavush regions. ATP does reforestation, planting new forest where trees did not grow before. ATP specialists have selected particular species that enable forest connectivity, regeneration and provide migration corridors for native wildlife. ATP’s reforestation efforts create infrastructure and introduce income opportunities for local people while providing a buffer for natural forest areas and preventing further degradation.

The Backyard Nurseries Program (BYN) enables villagers to generate income from their plots of productive agricultural land. ATP provides seeds and cuttings to 128 families who care for and cultivate them over a period of two to three years. ATP staff train landowners, oversee planting and monitor the site throughout the process. Once the trees reach the harvesting stage, ATP pays the BYN owner for those trees which are then replanted in community sites. These families then begin the nursery cycle again with a new harvest of trees. This program is based in the northern regions of Armenia (Shirak, Lori and Tavush). It is an economic development initiative for the villagers; many of the beneficiaries’ heads of families are women.

In Artsakh, ATP’s newest backyard greenhouse program serves 50 beneficiary families in Martuni and Askeran by giving them small greenhouses of 30 square meters and offering them training by the NGO GreenLane. The greenhouses are easy to assemble from inexpensive, locally sourced materials by students from the American University of Armenia and the Polytechnic University of Worcester. The 50 families participating in ATP’s backyard greenhouse program were badly affected by the 44-day war. The ATP program will provide some economic stability, access to fresh produce, as so much agricultural land was lost during the war, and most importantly, hope for its future.

For the next generation, the 33 ATP Eco-Clubs have implemented environmental education. Eco Clubs in border villages feel the constant presence of danger, in villages such as Baruyr Sevag and Armash of the Ararat region, located at the corner where Armenia meets Nakhchivan and Turkey, and the Eco Club of the community of Gegharkunik, which borders Azerbaijan. The program strengthens the environmental knowledge and spirit of our youth while teaching leadership skills. Their eco-friendly projects also build self-esteem and pride in their communities, which affects young people’s willingness to stay in their villages.

Our environmental education team also traveled to 148 schools where our CTP program operates, further strengthening ATP’s relationship with the community. Reaching 5,847 K-12 students, our instructors deliver lessons in schools as well as with our mobile classroom lab on wheels. Additionally, students visit our Ohanian Education Centers at Margahovit and Karin Nurseries for more hands-on experiences. Our instructors teach topics like biodiversity, climate change, the importance of forests, waste management and recycling, water resources, and more. We also provided environmental education to 511 school administrators, teachers and parents.

As we reflect on an ambitious and successful Spring 2022 planting season with the celebration of our seven millionth tree, thanks to the support of our donors, we are encouraged by the work of our divisions serving the people of Armenia, creating opportunities and hope.

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Armenia Tree Project (ATP) is a nonprofit program based in Woburn and Yerevan that carries out life-saving environmental projects in cities and towns across Armenia and seeks support to advance its reforestation mission. Since 1994, ATP has planted and restored over 6,000,000 trees and hundreds of jobs have been created for Armenians through seasonal tree-related programs.

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