16 December 2013, 21:46
20863 |

ATP to create new green spaces in Armenia and Artsakh

This fall, Armenia Tree Project (ATP) marks 40 seasons of planting in communities across the country. ATP’s Community Tree Planting (CTP) initiative has surpassed 1.2 million trees planted in every corner of Armenia and Artsakh. The CTP team planted 27,427 fruit and decorative trees this fall out of a total of 56,184 for the year. Some of the tree types included apricot, pear, apple, maple, poplar, and Russian olive.

More and more organizations and companies in Armenia are beginning to practice corporate social responsibility, with a special focus on environmental issues. This season, ATP continued its partnership of several years withSynopsys to plant 1,160 evergreens on the campus of Yerevan State University. Dozens ofSynopsys employees volunteered their day to help green the area. Employees from another company, AtTask, planted 50 trees in the Avan community of Yerevan.

In November, volunteers from the Armenian Volunteer Corps joined ATP in the village of Nor Kharberd, just outside of Yerevan, to plant 100 poplars, 70 evergreens, and 80 fruit trees. The trees were donated to the Nor Kharberd Boarding school for disabled children, where ATP has been planting since 1995. The school is one of the first ATP planting sites, and is home to 286 children, all of whom have some form of disability. To date, over 1,600 trees have been planted at the school.

ATP has been providing fruit and decorative trees to Nor Kharberd boarding school for many years; the latest planting was in November with diasporans from Armenian Volunteer Corps

After years of concerted efforts by philanthropists and other prominent advocates led by Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR), the brand-new Octet Music School opened in Gyumri on September 20. Until the opening of the school, music students had been attending classes in the metal trailers that were meant to be temporary shelters after the Spitak earthquake of 1988. ATP provided 312 evergreens and 23 decorative trees for the schoolyard, which were planted during the opening by guests including British Ambassador Jonathan Aves, representatives from FAR, and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan.

The President was joined by Deep Purple lead singer Ian Gillan and Do Something founder Jon Dee, who have had a special connection with this project and with Armenia dating back to the tragic earthquake 25 years ago. Approaching the building, Gillan commented that he had tears in his eyes upon seeing the school. “I already hear the music which will come from the school. We managed to revive the music,” said Gillan.

ATP works in collaboration with many local and international development organizations. Near Gyumri, in the village of Maralik, there was no public green space until Counterpart International opened the first park in the area on November 1. ATP provided 665 trees to help green the park. In Armavir, ATP partnered with Children of Armenia Fund (COAF) to plant decorative trees and shrubs at four school gardens. In the villages of Shenik, Karagert, Argina, and Lernagog, 880 Syrian roses, ash trees, and poplars were planted this season. “These communities were chosen because COAF has rebuilt schools in each village, and ATP continues to support their efforts to help the villages prosper,” explained CTP program manager Arthur Harutyunyan.

Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also been a leading partner, with a three year project initiated in 2012. “Thanks to a major grant from Norway, the CTP program continued planting fruit trees and shrubs in villages across Armenia,” Harutyunyan stated. In Syunik, the villages of Halidzor, Vaghatur, and Khdzoresq received 1,067 trees; in Aragotsn, Arayi recieved 860; in Lori, Ghurshalu and Karadzor received 940; and in Armavir, Lernamerdz and Talvorik received 450 trees. “Ninety percent of the trees funded by this grant were fruit trees, which will help sustain the people in these communities,” continued Harutyunyan.

This fall, ATP began a new initiative to help Syrian-Armenian refugee families in Artsakh.
Thousands of Armenians from Syria have fled to Armenia over the past two years as a result of the ongoing conflict. The majority of these refugees settled in Yerevan, or near the city, but there are several families who have chosen to move to Artsakh. Two families in Berdzor and 21 in Kovsakan, a village in the very south, will receive 300 pear, plum, apple, sweet cherry, apricot, and quince trees to help them start over in Karabagh.

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