WATERTOWN — Around the world, people have been asking: “April 24th has come and gone. What’s next for the remembrance of the Armenian Genocide?”
Armenia Tree Project has initiated a new campaign called the Living Century Initiative, which enables Armenians to plant trees in remembrance of the Genocide.
“Through the Living Century Initiative, we are establishing 10 forests in northern Armenia that are aligned with the major Western Armenian communities that were devastated by the Genocide,” explains Executive Director Jeanmarie Papelian. “We are inviting Armenians from around the world to sponsor trees in living memory and in honor of their relatives and ancestral communities. LCI provides an opportunity to plant the new Adana, Kharpert or Marash forest, or wherever your family roots may have been.”
ATP has planted more than 4.7 million trees in over 1,000 locations throughout Armenia and Artsakh. These locations include Nor Kharpert, Musa Ler and Zeytoun — transplanted names from communities in historic Armenia. “We have an ambitious goal to plant 300,000 trees by year’s end, including 250,000 forestry seedlings as part of the Living Century Initiative,” notes Papelian.
The 10 Living Century forest sites correspond to regions in historic Armenia and will be planted in the Shirak, Lori and Kotayk regions of modern Armenia. They focus on areas where ATP has been planting forests since 2004. “Our team has met with the local community leaders, and they are excited to work with us to establish these new forests as links to our ancestral homeland,” she adds.
Papelian visited one of the new planting sites in May with outgoing director Tom Garabedian. Tom’s grandparents came to America from Kharpert, and the Living Century Initiative was inaugurated by planting a trees in the new Kharpert memorial forest in Arevashogh. This site in the Lori region is dedicated to families whose ancestors hailed from Kharpert before the Genocide.