WATERTOWN, Mass.—In celebration of the 15th anniversary of its founding, Armenia Tree Project (ATP) has released a new documentary film about its cutting-edge tree planting and environmental education programs. The 15-minute film, “Every Tree.,” was directed by Kennedy Wheatley and photographed and edited by Amaya Cervino.
“ATP began in 1994 with the modest goal of re-greening the public spaces in Yerevan where trees had been sacrificed during the ‘dark years’ after Armenia’s independence, when people were forced to burn whatever they could find to stay warm,” recounted ATP founder Carolyn Mugar. “By 2004, we had planted 500,000 trees in Yerevan and neighboring communities, and it became clear that rejuvenating public areas alone was not going to significantly impact the larger issue of deforestation.”
“It was then, only five years ago, that I issued a challenge to our staff to undertake a program to plant 15 million trees by 2015–ten trees planted for each victim of the Armenian Genocide by its 100th anniversary. By the end of 2009, we expect that ATP will have planted over 3.5 million trees in Armenia. Thank you for your firm belief in our mission,” Ms. Mugar stated in a special message to ATP supporters.
“I personally accompanied the filmmakers on a tour of ATP’s three nurseries, two education centers, and dozens of planting sites, and I think this new ATP documentary film captures the emotion and impact of our tree planting, poverty reduction, and educational programs,” noted ATP Executive Director Jeff Masarjian.
“Although it is our 15th anniversary, this has been a difficult year because of the global economic recession,” added Mr. Masarjian. “Nevertheless, we are making every effort to follow through on our commitment to purchase and plant the tree seedlings grown by partner families in Armenia who are working with ATP.”
The new ATP documentary, “Every Tree.,” is being sent to thousands of Armenian households in the United States this month. “We are hoping our supporters will help us fulfill our pledge to these communities in Armenia, most of whom are feeling the effects of the recession even harder than those of us in the diaspora,” emphasized Mr. Masarjian.
“Our donors have shown tremendous loyalty over the past 15 years, and we hope everyone will remain committed to supporting our work since we now have the experience and capacity to plant over one million trees each year, which will have an enormous impact on the land and well-being of Armenia’s people,” he concluded.
Since 1994, Armenia Tree Project has planted and restored more than 3,000,000 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, community development to reduce poverty and promote self-sufficiency, and environmental education to protect Armenia’s precious natural resources. For additional information and to support ATP’s mission, visit the web site www.armeniatree.org.
Photo Caption: Armenia Tree Project has planted trees at more than 800 public sites around the country; these before and after photos show the results of its work at St. Anna Church in Yeghegnadzor, which started in 2000 with the planting of hundreds of fruit and decorative trees