ATP to Partner with American Forests’ Global ReLeaf Program to Plant Locally Grown Trees in Northern Armenia

WATERTOWN, MA–Armenia Tree Project (ATP) has been working on an exciting new partnership with the American Forests’ Global ReLeaf Campaign for the fall planting season. Our partnership with American Forests involves planting 175,000 new tree seedlings in the Getik River Valley of northern Armenia, where ATP has been working since 2004.

The seedlings will be purchased from families growing trees as part of ATP’s Backyard Nursery Micro-Enterprise Program. The Backyard Nursery Program is a unique initiative that addresses the interrelated challenges of poverty and deforestation.

“ATP partners with rural subsistence farmers who propagate tree seedlings in backyard nurseries. Each family grows 500 to 1,000 seedlings which ATP purchases when they are ready to be replanted in the forest, providing desperately needed income,” notes ATP Executive Director Jeff Masarjian. “This model rewards families for their hard work throughout the year since we only purchase the trees that are healthy and ready for transplanting.”

“American Forests will provide a grant of $70,000 if ATP can raise the remainder of the funds required to implement the project,” explains Masarjian. “Our Backyard Nursery Program received the National Energy Globe Award for Sustainability at the European Parliament in 2008 and we are grateful that an international organization like American Forests has decided to initiate this partnership in recognition of our efforts.”

American Forests is the oldest nonprofit citizens’ conservation organization in the United States. Citizens concerned about the waste and abuse of the nation’s forests founded the organization in 1875 and one of its goals has been to assist communities in planning and implementing tree and forest actions to restore and maintain healthy ecosystems and communities.

American Forests’ Global ReLeaf Campaign has been planting native trees in rural and urban ecosystem restoration projects around the world. The organization plans to plant 4.8 million trees this year in 14 states and 10 countries to help restore forests important for endangered wildlife, clean water, and carbon sequestration. Since the planting of the first Global ReLeaf project 20 years ago, more than 30 million native trees have been planted in over 600 restoration projects.

“Our goal is to raise these matching funds in order to purchase tree seedlings and tools, in addition to hiring workers to install fencing to protect the new trees and maintain the site in the first few years while the seedlings become established,” explains Masarjian. “The trees are all grown from seeds collected locally in the nearby forests but they do require some nurturing and care while they grow into a young forest.”

An article on the National Geographic website in August points out that ATP’s Backyard Nursery Program in the Getik River Valley gives rural residents hope, and that the money they receive for their seedlings will help them maintain their homes, expand small businesses, and support their children.

“As we approach the fall planting season, we hope Armenians will help ATP meet the challenge offered by American Forests’ Global ReLeaf Campaign to plant 175,000 new trees in northern Armenia. This partnership will enable us to fulfill our commitment to these families and plant new forests that will sustain Armenia’s people well into the future,” Masarjian emphasized.

Since 1994, Armenia Tree Project has planted and restored more than 3,500,000 trees at over 800 sites around the country and created hundreds of jobs for impoverished Armenians in tree-regeneration programs. The organization’s three tiered initiatives are tree planting, environmental education, and poverty reduction. For more information or to support the American Forests Global ReLeaf Challenge, please contact ATP at (617) 926-8733 or visit the web site www.armeniatree.org.

PHOTO CAPTIONS

ATP Village.jpg

Armenia Tree Project is partnering with American Forests’ Global ReLeaf Campaign to plant 175,000 native tree seedlings in the Getik River Valley of northern Armenia; this photo was taken this past summer at one of ATP’s many village planting sites

ATP Nurseries.jpg

The tree seedlings will be purchased from families growing trees as part of ATP’s Backyard Nursery Program; the program provides desperately needed income for rural families that propagate 500 to 1,000 tree seedlings in their own backyard nurseries



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