Save Park Campaign: Environmentalists fear losing trees in favored student gathering spot

Save Park Campaign: Environmentalists fear losing trees in favored student gathering spot

Courtesy photo

“Students’ Park” in the city center.

Environmentalists say they remain unconvinced even after promises by Armenia’s chief architect that no trees will be cut down in the area of Yerevan’s “Student Park”. The concerned environmentalists say they have the experience of other locations where trees were cut under similar circumstances.

The park is located near one of Yerevan’s central thoroughfares, Avobyan Street, in the vicinity of the Yerevan State University, the Agriculture University, the State Engineering University of Armenia and the National Library. The area has been closed for the past month, with the stated reason being that a cafe in the area is under repairs. Environmentalists say they are not allowed even to enter the territory to see the progress of the construction work. Activist Mariam Sukhudyan says they are convinced this all will inevitably lead to cutting down of trees in the territory.

A youth action group called “We Are the Owners of Our City” has launched a collection of signatures against what it views as illegal construction going on in the Student Park area, reports the Ecolur environmental NGO. They plan to submit the signatures they collect to Armenia’s president, prime minister, parliament speaker as well as Yerevan’s mayor.

Student Park is also remembered with warm feelings by Yerevantsis of older generations.

Aramayis Aslanyan, a 64-year-old employee of the Yerevan Project Institute, hurried to the area near Alexander Tamanyan Statue after work on Tuesday. He was one of 3,000 people who contributed his signature to the environmental campaign on that day.

“I was a student in the 1960s and my sweetest memories are connected with this very park as we would not only hang out there, but also would do some drawing and cartographic work,” Aslanyan told ArmeniaNow.

Today’s young people also want the park saved as many students say they are tired of going to distant parks to spend their free time after classes.

“A few years ago when I studied in Germany I noticed that students there were going to classes with pleasure because the nature surrounding their universities granted calmness and made their studies a real pleasure, something that Armenia lacks. And if parks become fewer, the situation will only get worse,” says Hayk Barseghyan, 23, one of the initiators of the signature collection campaign.

The group says the collection of signatures will continue until May 7.