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Dreams Of Gananch

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  • Dreams Of Gananch

    By Lori Suvajian

    Arlington Advocate entertainment/arts/x142939556
    Jan 31 2008

    Arlington, Mass. - I had never fantasized about the color green until I
    went to Armenia. During all of my seventeen years living in Arlington,
    I never really appreciated the 18,000 public trees that beautify this
    town. So, when I visited my father's homeland - Armenia - during the
    summer of 2007, I had no idea how different the environment would
    be. Getting off the plane was literally the first step of my wake-up
    call: the desolate landscape was completely lacking in "gananch"-
    green. I soon felt an obligation to help bring it back. Hence came
    my involvement with the Armenia Tree Project (ATP).

    The ATP is a non-profit organization with bases in Watertown,
    Mass., as well as Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. It plants trees
    and shrubs throughout the country to revive Armenia's devastated
    environment. The fall of the Soviet Union, the 1988 earthquake,
    and the war with Azerbaijan caused fuel shortages in the country,
    leading to major deforestation. And Armenia's poor condition is only
    a tiny example of the global environmental crisis.

    ATP's goals are simple yet challenging to achieve. Its top priority
    is improving Armenia's environment. Basically, the more trees, the
    better. Trees attract moisture, so as forests disappear, it rains
    less frequently, making the country increasingly hot and dry.

    Pollution is a major issue in Armenia, and without trees, there is
    less fresh air to keep people healthy. Finally, the trees help support
    the ecosystems of local flora and fauna.

    In Yerevan, I met with Anahit Gharibyan, the project's community tree
    planting manager, who guided me through some of ATP's local planting
    sites. We visited the Karin Nursery, where seeds grow into saplings
    that are later replanted throughout the area. Once relocated, it takes
    continuous care from ATP and local staff to keep the seedlings alive -
    and this, of course, takes money.

    As you enjoy our tree-lined streets and small forests at Menotomy
    Rocks Park, consider sharing this gift with Armenia. A donation of
    $15 will buy a seed and ensure that it receives enough care to become
    a healthy tree. Donation options are available on ATP's Web site,, or by calling its main number, (617) 926-8733,
    for more information.

    Visit Suvajian's photography exhibit "Dreams of Gananch" at the Fox
    Branch Library on from February 13-27. Purchase digital reproductions
    of this art, on canvas, to help benefit the Armenian Tree Project.

    Suvajian is a high school senior who spent the past summer working
    for the Armenian Tree Project, I'm a high school senior who lives in
    Arlington. A different version of this article originally appeared in
    "The Armenian Weekly."