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Young Biologists Association public campaign and first Ecotourism festival

1petite"Biodiversity of the year 2016" public campaign

On May 22nd, the Young Biologists Association NGO summed up "Biodiversity of the year 2016" public campaign dedicated to the International Day for Biological Diversity. In the frame of campaign, via public voting, the Animal of the year was chosen Clouded apollo - Parnassius mnemosyne, the Fungi of the yearPleorotus eringii, the Plant of the yearAlmond - Prunus dulcis and the Lichen of the year Rhizocarpon geographicum.
Results of the voting have been presented on May 22, 2016, International day of Biological Diversity. On the same day the exhibition was organised in the English Park in Yerevan.

During the campaign the photo contest was announced and the photos were presented during exhibition. Educational seminars were organised at "Ohanyan" and "Mkhitar Sebastatsi", "Poqrik Ishkhan" educational complexes. During the seminars the representatives of the YBA led presentations about Armenian biodiversity. "Biodiversity of the year 2016" environmental campaign was organised in the frame of United Nations Decade on Biodiversity 2011-2020 and supported by the Rufford Foundation.

2petiteFirst Ecotourism Festival in Armenia

On 4-5th of June 2016, the Young Biologists Association and Jermuk Development Center NGOs organised the first Ecotourism Festival in Armenia dedicated to the World Environment Day 2016 in the villages of Gomk and Martiros of the Vayots Dzor Province. The goal of the festival was to promote ecotourism and support community-based nature conservation initiatives.
During the first day of festival the guests attended the official opening ceremony of the Ecotourism Festival full of traditional food, trade, and exhibition of the ecotourism services and local products. Afterwards they had an opportunity to follow the "Regional Cycling Cup" cycling contest. During the 4th of June, rock climbing competition and training, hiking and horse riding tours trough beautiful ecotourism trails to rock-carved cross-stones and lake were organised. In addition botanical expedition for plant lovers was carried out. The day ended around the campfire and accompanied by songs, especially good mood was provided by the music group VanaTor.

3petiteThe second day started with yoga and continued whith birdwatching. On the same day the hiking tour was organised to lake Tchumov and various cultural and natural monuments of the village Martiros.
The area of the villages is rich in biodiversity and the two communities are part of the internationally recognised ecological corridor IUCN Red Listed Caucasian Leopard (Panthera pardus ciscaucasica), Bezoar goat (Capra aegagrus), and Armenian mouflon (Ovis orientailis gmelini).
The sponsors of the Ecotourism Festival was the Rufford Foundation and the Jermuk Group. The event was also supported by the WWF-Armenia, Ministry of Nature Protection, Armenia Tree Project, Ecotour Travel Agency, Armenian Society for the Protection of Birds, "Noyan Tapan" news agency, Areni Festival Foundation.