On May 15, 2010, the Armenian Society for the Protection of Birds (IUCN member and BirdLife in Armenia) organized the “Crane – Bird of Peace Festival” in the village of Mets Sepasar, Shirak province. The Festival celebrated one of Armenia’s critically endangered and red listed species, the Common Crane.
Lake Arpi Important Bird Area is the only breeding ground for Common Cranes in Armenia and, the place where a new subspecies has been discovered in 2008. The newly identified subspecies of the Common Crane breeds only in the northern regions of Armenia, in waterlogged meadows and wetlands adjacent to Lake Arpi, in the Javakheti region in Georgia and in Kars district in Turkey. It was given its scientific name, Grus grus archibaldi, in honour of the world renowned biologist and distinguished conservationist Dr. George W. Archibald.
These remarkable creatures have attracted the attention of Man down the centuries and have inspired him to write poems and create enamoring pieces of art. Nowadays, it is people that often appear the only enemies of these majestic birds. And few of us know that their survival is dependent on the people living side by side with the bird. Our celebration started with art exhibitions of local children and countrymen who presented works under the thematic Crane contest announced prior to the festival. Each village displayed art works that showcased their unique talent and reflected their culture. Some children expressed their perception of unacceptable human interference into the life of birds in their own way.
The Festival was region-wide and gathered 10 local communities of Shirak province. The Crane festival aimed at raising the estimation of local communities, of the remarkable creatures that inhabit their place and increase their understanding of the need for their immediate protection. Children of the Armenian North have a special role in conserving the Cranes, as they have a more direct contact with them and their threatened environment.
Schools participating in the ‘Crane – Bird of Peace’ competition presented works in nominations for the best drawing, best poem, best handicraft and a staged performance. All works have been appraised by an independent jury and the three winners of the competition were selected among the schools. The Festival was full of quiz shows which aimed to stimulate creativity and quick thinking in children.
Our celebration was enriched by special guest performances: Valeria Cherekian, an Argentine-Armenian singer made an actual opening of the show, and ‘Vardevanian dance theater’ and ‘Shogher’ dance shows from Gyumri.
The Armenian Society for the Protection of Birds wishes to extend its special thanks to the children, the administration and the principal of Mets Sepasar School for hosting and promoting the festival in Shirak province.