By Ani Melkonyan
MARGAHOVIT, Armenia — On June 15, Armenia Tree Project (ATP) opened the Charles G. Bilezikian Greenhouse in Margahovit Village, Lori. Attending the opening ceremony were the Bilezikian Family of Boston, ATP Executive Director Jeanmarie Papelian and team, the Deputy Governor of Lori, the Head of Margahovit community, Margahovit school principal, and guests.
The greenhouse complex is situated beside the Michael and Virginia Ohanian Center for Environmental Studies, where more than 2,000 students are hosted annually. Features include a 250 square meter experimental greenhouse, a two-story building, and ATP’s first outdoor classroom.
The outdoor classroom will advance ATP’s environmental education programs and enable children to increase their practical knowledge of the environment. As a green space for active learning, it creates the opportunity to experience nature up close and personal so that students may value and come to love it. Students will build new skills, try their hands out at gardening, and actively monitor the progress of their work. They will also be able to do research projects and explore the ecosystems and biodiversity they find in their surroundings.
“Our students are ecstatic about this new space. We envision our outdoor trainings leading to the creation of similar green areas in schools where our students and teachers come from. This will greatly contribute to peer-to-peer education in communities,” says Environmental Education Program Manager Kristine Hovsepyan.
The new experimental greenhouse will enable ATP to grow healthier trees for forestry plantings and increase tree survival rates. The greenhouse has the capacity to produce around 30,000 seedlings annually. It is supported by the adjacent building, which includes a laboratory for seed quality testing, a storage room for seeds and plants, and a third room for staff. The upstairs floor serves as lodging, where visitors can spend the night and enjoy the magic Lori has to offer.