ATP Inaugurates Ohanian Environmental Education Center in Karin

65 Main Street
Watertown, MA 02472 USA
(617) 926-TREE (8733)
Contact: Jason Sohigian

October 17, 2004


KARIN, Armenia–Armenia Tree Project (ATP) inaugurated its Michael and
Virginia Ohanian Environmental Education Center in the village of Karin on
October 12. The establishment of this ATP educational center is the result
of a generous donation from Mrs. Virginia Ohanian of Belmont, MA, in memory
of her husband, the late Michael Ohanian.

ATP established its nursery in Karin in 1996, and as part of an expansion of
its programs, ATP has added environmental and forestry education to its
mission. Immediately after Mrs. Ohanian learned about this program, this
educational center was proposed and established on the nursery site. Mrs.
Ohanian was present at the inauguration, along with a number of ATP’s
diasporan supporters traveling with the Armenian Assembly of America
Trustees’ Delegation to Armenia.

Opening the program, ATP Country Director Susan Yacubian Klein explained
that the UNHCR played the primary role in the establishment of the refugee
village of Karin, but that its residents had little employment
opportunities. As a result of the opening of the ATP nursery in the village,
a number of them were able to work and provide income for their families.

`The Michael and Virginia Ohanian Environmental Education Center provides
much-needed jobs, but it also fills a need for hands-on agricultural
training,’ stated Ms. Yacubian Klein, adding that already over 130 students
have been taught at the center from the Agricultural Academy and the local
school in Karin.

She explained that the nursery staff assists students in practical work in
the fields, and that students also attend lectures by the staff and invited
experts. `Thanks to Ginny Ohanian, we are able to provide this outreach to
the people in Armenia,’ she emphasized.

Executive Director Jeffrey Masarjian added that in addition to the nurseries
in Karin, Aygut, and elsewhere, ATP is planning to plant one million trees
per year beginning in 2006. He also introduced Yerevan office Deputy
Director Mher Sadoyan, Watertown office Deputy Director Jason Sohigian,
Nursery Director Samvel Ghandilyan, and CTP Director Anahit Gharibyan to the
more than 60 guests on the Armenian Assembly visit.

In his brief remarks, Mr. Ghandilyan thanked Mrs. Ohanian, her family, and
other ATP supporters on behalf of the staff and the residents of Karin, for
the establishment of the educational center.

After the introductions, Mrs. Ohanian recounted her husband Michael’s
long-time relationship with Stephen Mugar, the father of ATP founder Carolyn
Mugar. She also reiterated her firm support for Ms. Mugar and the work of
ATP, recalling an earlier visit to the Karin nursery when the seedlings and
fruit trees were at the very early stage of growth.

After a ceremonial tree planting by Mrs. Ohanian and her family and a ribbon
cutting for the Michael and Virginia Ohanian Environmental Education Center,
Mrs. Ohanian expressed her feeling of honor and privilege for this gift.
Later, guests were able to meet with ATP staff and tour the nursery,
followed by a luncheon.

During the event, the Mayor of Karin expressed his gratitude toward ATP for
choosing the village as the site for one of its nurseries. `I would like to
thank ATP for keeping people in our village,’ stated Mayor Haykaz
Ter-Gulanyan. `We are doing our best to help the nursery, and we will do
anything we can to expand it and create more jobs for local people.’

`What you are doing is an honor for the village and our country, and thanks
to ATP, Armenia is even more green than it was before you began working
here,’ concluded the Mayor of Karin.

For additional information about this event or other ATP programs, please
contact Jason Sohigian at [email protected] or visit