Thursday, February 21, 2008

Armenia Tree Project inspires planting in Albania...

(Photo of Oxygen Park in Tirana, Albania by Gjergj Bakallbashi)

A few prominent members of Boston’s Albanian community learned about the work of Armenia Tree Project at a program hosted by the Earthwatch Institute in May 2007, and decided to implement a similar program in their country.

After meeting with ATP’s leadership to learn about the organization’s methodology, Gjergj Bakallbashi and Lejda Kapia organized the planting of their first 10 trees on the grounds of the Mother Teresa Medical Center in Tirana, Albania.

The site, Oxygen Park, is intended to improve the aesthetics and environment of the hospital and is used as a resting place by visitors. The small leaf linden trees are encircled by colorfully painted recycled truck tires.

The planting was covered by the Albanian website Gazeta Shqip. “I’m not sure if you read Albanian, but you will be able to spot your name as one of the people that inspired and contributed to the realization of the project,” wrote Lejda to ATP Executive Director Jeff Masarjian. “Thank you very much for your guidance and support!”

Gjergji added that Jeff’s name is on the plaque that describes the park. “I took the liberty of adding your name to the list of Albanians who supported the project because you did too,” he wrote. “We planted the first batch of trees. Now it is up to the hospital staff to take care of them.”

“We were impressed and inspired by your collaboration with various groups to strengthen your impact on the lives and landscape of your country. Many wishes for another productive reforestation year,” they added in a note to ATP.