YEREVAN/BOSTON — Armenia Tree Project (ATP) founder and activist Carolyn Mugar was honored at last month’s “Forest Summit: Global Action and Armenia” in recognition of her decades of devotion to Armenia and its forests. Mugar, an Armenian-American who lives in the Boston area, has long been an advocate for the betterment of Armenia, its people, and its environment.
Mugar founded ATP in the early 1990s when Armenia was facing a severe energy crisis and people resorted to widespread use of wood for cooking and heating fuel. The country lost many trees in urban and rural areas, so ATP began replanting. In the ensuing years, the organization has established four tree nurseries, four greenhouses, and two environmental education centers. The operations provide more than 80 full-time jobs in Armenia and dozens more for seasonal work. The organization has planted more than 1,300 sites throughout Armenia and Artsakh and has had the support of thousands of individuals, foundations, and organizations in Armenia and the diaspora.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan addressed attendees at the inaugural forestry conference, and in praising Mugar announced that part of a forest will forever bear her family’s name.
“Your work, Ms. Mugar, is invaluable. Many of your charitable initiatives and programs have contributed to Armenia’s development since [Armenia’s] independence,” said Prime Minister Pashinyan at the opening session of the Forest Summit. “I would like to inform you that on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Armenia Tree Project, the Government of the Republic of Armenia has made a decision to establish the Mugar Family Protected Lands on the territory of Margahovit Forest.”
Margahovit is a village in Lori where ATP has made significant investments, including the Mirak Family Reforestation Nursery, the Michael and Virginia Ohanian Center for Environmental Studies, the Bilezikian Family Experimental Greenhouse, and the Hrant Dink Memorial Forest. The area is known for its clean air and spectacular beauty, and it has been a base for many of ATP’s programs over the past 15 years.
The inaugural Forest Summit brought global forestry professionals to American University of Armenia for panel discussions and collaborative sessions, and also into areas like Dilijan National Park and Margahovit Village for immersive field visits. Located in northern Armenia, ATP’s sites in Margahovit employ of dozens of Armenians and the Mirak Nursery has a capacity to grow more than a million trees. Much of this progress is a direct result of Mugar’s dedication and commitment.