By Alex Kew
YEREVAN/WASHINGTON — Last month, I had the absolute pleasure of being invited to Armenia with the Armenia Tree Project for a tour of both the country and their tree operations. My family has been long involved with ATP and I interned at their Boston office over a few summers. I’ve always believed very strongly in the work they are doing, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to see it all in action.
We arrived in the capital city of Yerevan in the middle of the night late Sunday night, and began our tour bright and early first thing Monday morning with our first tree nursery.
Armenia Tree Project has four nurseries in operation, and on day one we headed out to the Karin Nursery. This is ATP’s first nursery, and for this tree-hugger it was a sight to behold. We saw the new greenhouse, filled to the brim with baby trees, germinated just a few weeks ago and growing for forestry plantings. Outside, there were rows and rows of fruit trees for community planting, and even ornamental trees shaped by ATP’s experienced arborists.
After touring the nursery we headed to a nearby Community Tree Planting site. Just like Casey Trees, ATP also has a “Community Tree Planting” program. Though it operates a bit differently, and with much younger trees, the underlying message is the same: re-tree community sites to create vibrant healthy green spaces for generations to come.
The site we visited was Saint Gevork Monastery, one of many ancient religious sites. The land around this monastery was planted by ATP over 20 years ago, and the impact is unbelievable. The whole space has transformed from dry cracked land to an oasis of fruit trees. The orchard at this monastery overflows each summer with so many native fruits that they give them away to the clergy, patrons of the church, and local school children, and still have too many left over!