The Armenian Society for the Protection of Birds has launched its Nature Visitor Center in Dsegh which is the result of five years of planning, incessant hard work and countless hours spent to make its dream a reality.
On 12th of November, in the very heart of Dsegh IBA – in Dsegh Village – a Nature Visitor Center officially opened its doors to the public, as well as to the visitors from abroad.
The Center aims to provide connections with the nature through interpretive education activities, resource protection and outdoor opportunities.
On the one hand the Center will be a hub for the education events aimed at hosting the local schoolchildren and bringing them close to Nature. On the other hand, the Center will promote some eco-friendly activities, thus promoting the protection of flora and fauna of this region. Also, it will provide tourists with comprehensive information about the region, local sightseeing destinations, planned events and available B&Bs. It will work to additionally offer various tour services, contributing to development of the eco-tourism in the area and by so doing will support the socio-economic wellbeing of of rural community in Dsegh.
Despite the harsh and extreme weather conditions in the village, ASPB’s team has proved very effective and skillful in having organized the Opening Ceremony of the Center. The Ceremony was honored with the presence of different VIP persons, among them H.E. Mr. Lukas Gasser (the ambassador of Switzerland in Armenia), H.E. Mr. Jean-Francois Charpentier (the ambassador of France in Armenia), Mr. Artur Nalbandyan (regional Governor of Lori Marz), Ms. Claire Medina (UNDP’s Deputy Resident Representative), Mr. Edouard Simonian (Vice-President of the Rhône-Alpes Region), and Karen Manvelyan (Director of WWF Armenia).
The Ceremony was opened with the welcome words of ASPB’s founding member Luba Balyan. She briefly introduced the history of planning, construction and establishment procedures of the Center, and presented the future plans and prospects regarding the community development which can be supported by the current project.
The audience had the pleasure of watching a short documentary film, which was developed and prepared shortly before the opening, which featured the villagers themselves sharing their ideas and visions of what they belived the Center was about and will serve for. This proved again that the interest and excitement towards the activities of the Center was high enough among the community residents.
The ribbon cutting was the most vivid part of the Ceremony. The Director of ASPB, Mr. Mamikon Ghasabyan, and the Head of Dsegh Community, Mr. Norik Qocharyan, had an honor to be the first persons to enter the Center. Afterwards, the guests were given a walking tour inside the building and discovered various informative and captivating tools and maps inside. The majority of attendees were amazed by the design and usefulness of the space housing of Dsegh Center.
Even at a glance it becomes clear that the concept of the Center creates a predisposing environment for schoolchildren and allows them to learn about the birds and the nature in its entirety, which gives a unique opportunity to have an educated and environmentally friendly generation in the close future.
All this became real due to the concerted and valuable efforts of UNDP/GEF Small Grants Programme, the Rhone Alpes Regional Council in France, SVS BirdLife Switzerland, and the Armenian Society for the Protection of Birds.
The Armenian Society for the Protection of Birds belives that the Nature Visitor Center in Dsegh will be the key initiative and will foster the establishment of other environmental information centers across the whole country. This way we dream to support all distant communities in different parts of Armenia and bring them all a step closer to the Mother Nature.