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Batumi Raptor Count and AUA Acopian Center for the Environment Continue Partnership

YEREVAN/BATUMI – The American University of Armenia (AUA)’s Acopian Center for the Environment (AUA ACE) continues its cooperation with the Batumi Raptor Count (BRC) by developing and delivering environmental education programs to youth from all parts of the Caucasus.

BRC is a vital nature conservation program in the region. It monitors the more than 850,000 birds of prey that migrate through the “Batumi Bottleneck” every fall. It also works to protect the birds from illegal shootings and trappings, practices that continue to this day.

This year, Hasmik Ter-Voskanyan and Siranush Tumanyan, both AUA ACE educators, led youth groups, including some from Armenia, on how to identify bird species and learning about their habitats. After receiving training, the youth participate in field visits that include counting the migrating raptors.

“This is a relationship we want to develop further,” says Alen Amirkhanian, director of the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment. “Batumi provides an unparalleled setting in the Caucasus to educate and conduct research on the environment. Importantly, we are able to do this jointly with people from all parts of the Caucasus and Europe. Developing this type of cooperation is essential for addressing environmental protection needs,” says Amirkhanian.

In early September, Dr. Karen Aghababyan, chief scientist of the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment, attended the International Batumi Bird Festival organized by BRC. During his visit, Dr. Aghababyan discussed opportunities for expanding cooperation between the organizations through the development of nature-based tourism, as well as strengthening environmental education and bird-monitoring programs.

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The AUA Acopian Center for the Environment (AUA ACE) is a research center of the American University of Armenia. AUA ACE promotes the protection and restoration of the natural environment through research, education, and community outreach. AUA ACE’s focus areas include sustainable natural resource management, biodiversity and conservation, greening the built environment, clean energy and energy efficiency, as well as information technology and the environment.

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