At Annual Assembly held in August 15, all IBA caretakers and ASPB’s Board members gathered at Aarhus centre in Vanadzor to allow an exchange of information between caretakers, ASPB staff and the Board as well as to plan the year's program, activities and events. Participants present at the meeting were ASPB staff, Board members and local IBA caretakers.
The meeting discussed ASPB’s recently accomplished activities and achievements where the role of IBAs in bird conservation has been kept high on the agenda and given a significant highlight. The meeting was moderated by ASPB member Nikolay Gerasimenko who introduced in detail not only the ASPB’s bird conservation strategy but also described possible ways and directions of ecotourism development in the Armenian IBAs.
The meeting discussed issues related to conservation and tourism development, brought forth interesting suggestions and new ideas, whereas by the close of the meeting caretakers received IBA caretaker ID cards which aim to secure their role in the sites.
The second part of the meeting which dealt directly with the issues of Lake Arpi and Amasia IBAs, their current environmental state and bird diversity, took place on the following day, August 16. Starting early in the morning until late evening ASPB staff and caretakers carried out bird observations and surveyed habitats drawing up specific conclusions. “Shant” TV reporters from Gyumri were invited to document the daily event and tracked meticulously the work of ASPB and IBA caretakers, asked very peculiar questions and shared concerns on issues of Lake Arpi National Park and the state of Armenia’s biodiversity and bird conservation in general, upon which a special news was broadcast on local and national TV channel.
Conservation issues are many and complex, however local caretakers such as Shaqro Ghazaryan of Lake Arpi and Amasia IBAs always keep an alert eye on changes in habitats and birdlife at IBAs.