NEW YORK—Armenia Tree Project (ATP) and the Acopian Center for the Environment (ACE) are joining together to initiate a new project in Margahovit village, located in the Lori region of northern Armenia, and will hold a fundraising event on June 6 in New York City. Titled “Regardening of Eden,” the project is an unprecedented partnership between two of Armenia’s pre-eminent environmental organizations.
Focusing on the importance of trees, the protection of wildlife habitat, and proper waste management, the partnership will engage local youth and community residents in the creation of a new park, environmental education, trash collection, and recycling programs.
Since Margahovit village does not have a park or a green zone where residents can gather and relax, ATP will establish a green territory for the community as part of this partnership. “We will organize tree plantings with local residents, schoolchildren, and other young community members,” explained ATP Director Jeff Masarjian. “In the future, we expect the community to bring benches and establish a playground, thus developing this territory into a real recreational resource.”
In addition to hands-on tree plantings, ATP and ACE will assist with the establishment of an eco-club at the public school in Margahovit and education programs for the adult population focusing on planting and tree care, recycling, and waste composting. An important element will be a series of trainings presented by ACE on “Appreciating Birds and Protecting their Local Habitats” for schoolchildren at ATP’s Michael and Virginia Ohanian Center for Environmental Studies. Lessons will address bird identification, wintering, and breeding the birds of Lori, ways to preserve bird habitats, and the impact of waste on nature and the environment.
“I am excited about the ‘Regardening of Eden’ Project both because of the symbolism of this historic civilization and the fact that the biodiversity of Armenia is unique in our modern world. Many of the diaspora are not aware of the natural treasures that remain in Armenia and that their rate of destruction has increased since independence. Stopping and, thereafter, reversing this loss is essential to the successful future of Armenia. The ‘Regardening of Eden Project’ is a step in that direction,” explained Acopian Center benefactor Jeff Acopian.
“These types of educational training sessions will help to form a sound understanding of the environment in children. It is especially significant as these training sessions are delivered to the younger generation who will one day become Armenia’s future decision makers,” said Acopian’s nephew and ACE volunteer, Alex Karapetian. “The goal is to implement a strong understanding of nature and its value, and the role human beings play in nature’s cycles. As a result it will be possible to create a new generation of children who have environmentally friendly behavior, lifestyle, and values.”
The final aspect of the “Regardening of Eden” partnership is the implementation of recycling and waste removal programs. ATP and ACE staff and local residents will organize clean-up activities in Margahovit village as part of the “Let’s do it! Armenia” campaign scheduled for Sept. 15. “Let’s do it! Armenia” is a pan-Armenian volunteer effort tied to the World Cleanup 2012 initiative. The goal is to unite everyone around the idea of cleaning up trash throughout Armenia, including historical and cultural sites.
To implement the project in 2012 and to sustain it for years to come, ATP and ACE are organizing a public benefit event for the partnership on Wed., June 6 at the exclusive Hotel Chantelle in New York City. Tickets are $75 in advance and $100 at the door, and complimentary tapas and cocktails will be served. All of the ticket proceeds will be allocated to the project and are tax-deductible to the full extent permitted by law. Benefit tickets may be purchased by calling Jason Sohigian at ATP-Watertown at (617) 926-8733 ext. 14, or by visiting www.RegardeningOfEden.org.