YEREVAN–In 2009, Armenia Tree Project (ATP) planted more than 56,000 trees at dozens of urban and rural sites around the country as part of its Community Tree Planting (CTP) program. The huge public demand for trees and the professional capacity of ATP program staff, along with the production of fruit and decorative trees at the Karin and Khachpar nurseries, resulted in the planting of 56,244 trees in 2009. This was in addition to the 1,000,000 reforestation seedlings planted at several sites in the Lori region.
“We are very proud to announce that this fall we have planted 27,822 decorative and fruit trees and in the spring we planted 28,422 trees,” stated CTP Program Manager Anahit Gharibyan. “Through the joint efforts of the CTP and nursery programs we managed to distribute these high quality trees to more than 10 regions of Armenia including Armavir, Lori, Vayots Dzor, Tavush, and Artsakh.”
ATP’s programs create a number of valuable co-benefits for communities, which include tree planting jobs that provide a reliable source of income and fruit tree harvests that provide nutrition and food security. In 2009, ATP’s trees produced a harvest of 200,665 kg (442,390 pounds) of fresh fruit.
Fruit trees planted by ATP include apricot, wild apple, peach, and pear, and nut trees include pistachio and walnut. The fruit was harvested at 118 sites around the country, and was used by the local schools, hospitals, and other community institutions.
ATP’s Community Tree Planting program hosts a number of ceremonial tree planting events with partner organizations throughout the year. This fall, Synopsis Armenia staff and their families joined with ATP to plant 500 evergreen trees in the Malatia Sebastia community, near the St. Trinity Church which has been a model ATP site.
Another noteworthy example of ongoing cooperation was the tree planting initiated by ATP and HSBC Bank at the Diaconia Settlement of Hope. Together with the residents of the settlement, ATP and HSBC staff and families planted 500 fruit and decorative trees in the backyards of the family homes. ATP began working in this neighborhood for disadvantaged families in 2005, when there were very few trees. Today, the Settlement of Hope is a green and beautiful district, full of fruit and decorative trees planted by ATP.
“We are very pleased to help support the Diaconia settlement since this program provides housing and dignity to Armenian families. ATP is creating an environment that is making Diaconia beautiful with flowers, trees, and fruit. Congratulations to all of you for implementing this project,” noted ATP donors after a visit to the site.
Similar tree plantings were organized by ATP at other institutions, schools, and churches in Yerevan and Armenia’s regions this year. Hnaberd School, American University of Armenia, Hay Aspet NGO, Tsiternakaberd Genocide Memorial, and the Chess Academy are only a few of the numerous sites that have been re-greened and beautified through ATP’s Community Tree Planting program.
“We are proud of all of our programs and each planting story is full of life and hope for the future. However, one of our proudest moments this year was receiving a certificate of acknowledgement from Etchmiadzin Mayor Karen Grigoryan,” added Gharibyan. The certificate recognized ATP’s work in Etchmiadzin since 1995, where the organization has planted more than 20,000 trees at 20 different establishments including churches and schools.
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, community development, and environmental education. These programs reduce poverty, promote self-sufficiency, and help protect Armenia’s precious natural resources. For additional information and to support ATP’s mission, visit the web site www.armeniatree.org.