The Armenia Tree Project’s West Coast Community Outreach Manager Anahid Gharibian visited the Armenian Academy at Blair High School in Pasadena, CA. As the guest speaker, Gharibian delivered a presentation to the Academy’s middle school students in the periodicals room of the school library on March 15.
Students learned about how and why ATP, a Boston-based organization, was created shortly after the Spitak earthquake in 1988. In the last 32 years, ATP has planted 7.5 million ornamental and fruit trees around Armenia. The first generation of trees provided food and income for several thousands of people in the newly independent Republic of Armenia, which was struggling with both political and environmental hardships.
ATP provides income routes for villagers in the North and the South of the country by creating greenhouses and homespun nurseries where the trees are planted and nurtured by villagers and then transplanted all over Armenia. The organization wholeheartedly appreciates its diasporan donors and Gharibian spent a great deal of time discussing the significance of that vital support. Each tree planted allows the donor to #GetRooted to their homeland.
During her discussion, Gharibian shared a slide show, as well as videos, presenting how the ATP functions in Armenia, and surprised the students with a video of the tree planting ceremony carried out by high school seniors in Armenia, in the absence of their American counterparts due to the pandemic. The ceremony was held to celebrate the first anniversary of the Armenian Academy at Blair High School.
Each year, graduating seniors at the Armenian Academy plant trees in various regions in Armenia. This year, a group of seniors and juniors will once again go to Armenia and, with the help of ATP, plant trees in Ashtarak. As a keepsake of their time in the homeland, they will receive certificates from ATP for their efforts at the “Last Bell” ceremony, which will be provided by the organization’s main office in Yerevan.
Gharibian shared activity booklets, titled “Building Bridges,” with the Academy’s students to further their education on ecology in Armenia. She also presented samples of t-shirts the students will be wearing when they have their turn in Armenia. In turn, the children presented Gharibian with bouquets of flowers and a thoughtfully written thank you card.