Whispering aspens, trickling creeks, singing birds, dramatic mountains and shadowing maples have always circulated within dreams of my ideal nature. Since I was a young child, I listened to my mother and Armenian teacher descriptively tell me of folk stories of villages and women gathering water from rivers and streams. I never thought these stories would influence and create my ideal nature, well it did. After having the amazing opportunity to experience Armenia’s gorgeous landscapes, I realized that my ideal nature is a reality. It became clear to me that this is the connection I share with Armenia. I have always loved the art, music, food and culture, but experiencing Armenia’s nature was my realization that this is the true channel in which I am Armenian.
Being a Birthright participant gave me the opportunity to have this revelation with my ideals of nature through its adventurous excursions. However through its dedication to volunteerism I also had the opportunity to help improve this beloved landscape. Volunteering with Armenia Tree Project gave me the opportunity to experience isolated mountaintops, now dedicated to reforestation, which I would have most likely never experienced. It also made the environmental issues Armenia is facing a harsh reality. Creating a composting program for Armenia Tree Project is helping them become a more sustainable organization, as well as becoming a role model for reducing waste on all scales, from large organizations to families living in villages.
Before coming to Armenia I never faced or deeply thought about my Armenian identity, I just was Armenian. However, now after my ten weeks in Armenia, I not only have a better understanding of its history and the real situation but I learned what it means to be Armenian for myself. Studying and living my life to be an environmentalist, I could not have felt more honored that my ideals of nature are a true reality existing in Armenia.