The Thousand Leaf Project: The Beginning

By Lena Tachdjian, Environmental Writer and Co-Manager of The Thousand Leaf Project The Thousand Leaf Project is a collaborative project between AEN and American University of Armenia’s Acopian Center for the Environment (AUA Acopian Center) that houses information from citizen scientists on the plants and mushrooms that Armenian people have used throughout history. The website was recently launched at the Ecotourism conference at AUA. As with most exciting initiatives, AEN and the AUA Acopian Center’s The Thousand Leaf Project, has a story behind it. It all began with a hike to the Smbataberd Fortress to search for bezoar goats with Serda Ozbenian, the Executive Director of AEN, and Armine Sargsyan, AEN’s In-Country Director, and myself. The three of us definitely have a lot in common, but the strongest tie that we all share is definitely food. As a nutritionist, I always love talking about anything food related, and after meeting both Serda and Armine years ago, we all quickly bonded over our mutual love of veggie dishes, and our conversations quickly focused on food, cooking, or plans to cook together. Even for this hike the three of us pre-planned some delicious trail-worthy recipes ...


Paving the Way for Responsible Ecotourism in Armenia

AEN and the American University of Armenia’s Acopian Center for the Environment (AUA Acopian Center) have collaborated on various different projects over the years and in the fall of 2015, we began to develop “The Thousand Leaf Project”, a citizen science website housing a database of edible wild plants and mushrooms in Armenia and recipes that Armenians have used throughout history (stay tuned for more updates about this project). The project has multiple aims, one being to encourage ecotourism in Armenia, hence we made it our goal to get the website up and running in order to launch it at the Ecotourism Conference which took place at AUA on April 2nd. Since I have a degree in visual arts, my role in The Thousand Leaf Project quickly developed to be the designer and AUA Acopian Center also asked me to do the graphic design for the Ecotourism Conference. Being part of the team that helped put the conference together, I felt a sense of pride in what was accomplished on that day. Ever since I moved to Armenia in 2013, I have witnessed diverse efforts to promote ecotourism by various local organizations. The goals ...


Environmental Leadership: Emphasizing the Role of Environmental Leaders

By Dr. Nver Khachaturyan Currently, I am studying at the Leadership School in Yerevan, RA. This is a non-political, non-religious, and non-for-profit foundation that discovers and develops Armenian leaders within the young generation. The School cooperates with local and international partners and believes that in cooperation with prominent Armenian and international leaders, thinkers and organizations, the foundation can support the development of future Armenian leaders. A modern and non-traditional type of education in the school encourages students to be goal-oriented, insightful, and practical and take advantage of networking opportunities. During my studying period, as an environmental engineer, I have started developing my ideas about environmental leadership, which is a very important strategy for solving any kind of environmental problem. When we talk about leadership, surprisingly, many people first think of political, financial or religious leaders, but let me highlight that leaders are absolutely critical in all fields. Leadership doesn't have a one-size-fits-all definition; we all have our own ideas about what it means to be a good leader and how to build up our strategy. Hundreds of famous and successful leaders brought up their own definitions about leadership and all are good ones with their specific inspiration, motivation and power. So, what ...