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Green Steps - About - The team behind Green Steps

photography of dark plant
Lettering Green Steps
Lettering Green Steps

That's the spirit

The history of green steps

Green Steps was founded 2017 in Shanghai, a city with 27 million inhabitants, where we live since many years. We felt a need to instill environmental awareness into urban residents and save children from a spreading nature deficit disorder. Ever since then our mission is connecting you with nature.

If China can teach us one thing, then it is the economy of scale and the effects of a large population on the environment. We felt that we need to act. From China for the world.

We started by designing and facilitating experiential outdoor activities. We continued by training Nature Guides and now want to bring our work to the next level with a gamified platform which helps growing children’s empathy for the planet. What we know, we love. What we love, we protect.

We have recently kicked off the activity of a non-profit organization in Europe to link our efforts in China with the people of our home countries. 21st century solutions are global, not national.

2021 will be a decisive year for Green Steps as an organization and probably also for the world at large; and we need your support. Contribute with your time, your knowledge, your network and your financial resources to the best shot we have at solving the climate crisis.

Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I might remember. Let me do it and I will understand.

- Xunzi

This is us

This is the team behind Green Steps

Portrait of Joan Elizalde from Green Steps

Joan Elizalde

Director Regional Services - China

Biology Degree from Spain University. MBA in Sustainable Tourism from the International Foundation of Environmental Education.NAMC Montessori Early Childhood Educator. EFR First Aid Instructor. PADI Scuba Diving Master Instructor. Seasoned professional diver, hiking guide, team building facilitator and designer of ecotourism experiences. Passionate about all kinds of outdoor activities.

Portrait of Annie Wu from Green Steps

Annie Wu

Managing Director - China

Educational Technology from Beijing Normal University
AMS Montessori Early Childhood Educator
15 years of working experience in Japan and with Japanese MNCs. Montessori teacher and mother. Passionate about bringing to China best practices on holistic education from around the world.

Portrait of Knut Wimberger from Green Steps

Knut Wimberger

Director Regional Services - Europe

Former tech lawyer and corporate executive. Serial social entrepreneur and behavioral architect. Interested in providing technological solutions to social problems.
Montessori teacher and father of two. Passionate about fixing the environment, reforming education, and unfolding the human potential.

Portrait of Lukas Helebrandt from Green Steps

Lukas Helebrandt

Director Global Services

Free and Open Source tech enthusiast; Linux sysadmin developer; life-long volunteer for meaningful causes; promoter of a plant-based diet, of living in tune with nature, of rationality and tolerance.

Portrait of Gudrun Bruckner from Green Steps

Gudrun Bruckner

Director Youth Involvement

BSc in chemistry; outdoor enthusiast and certified sports trainer; NGO founder; hobby mountaineer; travel aficionado. Interested in finding global solutions for ecological problems.

Portrait of Giuseppe de Stefano from Green Steps

Giuseppe de Stefano

Marketing Director Global Services

Environmental journalist; visual communication lover; worked in several Chinese based startups; willing to preserve mountains and countrysides.

Portrait of Juliane Vopel from Green Steps

Juliane Vopel

Funding manager

Non-Formal education enthusiast; striving for a green future, where everyone can enjoy nature; currently Studying International Vocational Education. Supporting Green Steps from Germany in EU projects.

Lamptey Khalid

Front End Developer

A Deep learning and Mobile Applications
developer enthusiast with unique capabilities to get thorough output when faced with a task. My ultimate goal is ensuring the tecnhical feasiblity of UI/UX designs while providing holistic software solutions.

kelly wang

Nature Guide - China

ESL English Teacher with a TEFL and TEYL specialization. First Aid certified. Having grown up in a rural farm she shares lots of knowledge about plants and first-hand experiences of the natural world, making her lessons fun and colorful. She is passionate about experiential education and uses with creativity everything at hand to create engaging experiences.

AVA QIAN 

Nature Guide - China

Master in journalism, love for bird watching, and translation enthusiast. Published several Japanese translation works, is Japan Nature Experience Activity Leader(NEAL)and First Aid certified. Deeply interested in experiential learning in nature, and good at sharing hard knowledge in a simple and interesting way. Hopes to lead more people to appreciate the beauty of nature and learn how to live with it in harmony.

Ellen Loasby

Nature Guide - China

Postgraduate Degree in Business Management from Manchester Metropolitan University UK, and Master of Arts in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language from East China Normal University, with focus on deeper learning strategies. First Aid certified. Participation in Mindfulness and Intercultural Training programs.
Over 12 years experience in the Charity/NGO sector as board director, project coordinator, teacher trainer and active volunteer for environmental education, disabled children and migrant children projects.

Peng Ying Green Steps Team

Peng Ying

Accountant

Mother of a child. I hope all children will have the chance to grow up in a green environment. Love nature and tourism.

Mohammed ben-thaier

Lead Developer

Born in France, immigrated to Shanghai 4 years ago. 7 years of software engineering experience including IOT, blockchain, and web development. Enjoys outdoor activities such as rock climbing and hiking, traveling, and exploring landscapes.

Richard nortey

Lead Tech support

MSc. in Computer Science and Technology: IT troubleshooting expert with a passion to help and solve technical problems. Fitness enthusiast and love for nature and good cause to protect our environment and preserve the planet for our children and future generations.

valentin pivert

Design Officer

Master in Business Administration, passionate about graphic & narrative design, driven by social & environmental impact. Believes in the social entrepreneurship potential, gets curious about everything, writes nature-themed Chinese poetry, enjoys forest walks.

merlin mayer

Intern - Europe

Undergraduate biology student with a focus on ecology; trying to make sense of the world and to contribute to solving the big ecological challenges of the 21st century; enthusiastic outdoor photographer.

Gloria Corradini

ESC Volunteer - Europe

BSc. In Natural and environmental science and MSc. In Biology with focus on ecology.
Passionate about nature conservation, wildlife, behavioral ecology, capuchin monkeys, mountains and travelling.
Interested in nature education to connect children with science and nature to preserve our World and create a better future.

PASCAL Gruber

Intern - Europe

Skilled gardener that is interested in many science topics and nature. Supports Greenpeace and Naturschutzbund NÖ. We humans need to cooperate all around the globe if we want to become a peaceful science civilization that can reach every goal. The good thing about science is that it's true whether you believe in it or not.

James Halpin

Volunteer

Master's student in Environmental Education.
Part time STEM teacher, Full time conservationist.
Passionate about finding education to help myself and others, young and old, improve our hearts, minds and connections to nature

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Advisory Board

Carel van Apeldoorn

Carel van Apeldoorn

Entrepreneur, venture builder and former Start-up Grind Director. Rich experience in on- and off-line business development, with a strong global network in the start-up ecosystem.

Portrait of Chris Reisinger from Green Steps

Chris Reisinger

Chemical engineer, PhD in biotechnology, longtime Top Executive in Multinational companies. Emphasis on organizational behavior and development, improvement of environmental and energy related processes.

Portrait of Kai Pflug from Green Steps

Kai Pflug

Ph.D. Chemistry, independent management consultant to the chemical industry with focus on China. Passionate birder and photographer.

Portrait of Klaus Beck from Green Steps

Klaus Beck

Lawyer and mediator with a focus on international commercial transactions. More than 20 years of experience in and with China, where he worked as country manager for a German environmental NGO. Languages include German, English, Italian, French, and Chinese.

Portrait of Mercedes Barat from Green Steps

Mercedes Barat

Studied History, Geography and Political Sciences; retired Official at European Commission; Evaluator of European partnership projects

Portrait of Susanne Bruckner from Green Steps

Susanne Bruckner

General practitioner & emergency doctor. Loves all kinds of outdoor-sports from high up to under water. Advices Green Steps in regard to first aid and risk assessment.

Portrait of Pan Tao from Green Steps

Pan Tao

PhD in Environmental Science; founder of green think tank the Institute for Sustainable Environment and Energy (ISEE) and the first German Schrebergarden kind of community farm in Shanghai. Passionate about creating sustainable communities for a better world.

Portrait of Karl Bruckner from Green Steps

Karl Bruckner

Independent tax consultant since 1984, specialized in agricultural taxation. Crazy about going to the mountains in summer as well as in winter. Advises Green Steps Europe in taxation and insurance matters.

Portrait of Annette Erpenstein from Green Steps

Annette Erpenstein

Studied Geography and urban planning; with more than 25 years of integrated planning experience, in public, private and academia sector; Associated Partner Constellations International; master degree in mediation

Portrait of Pablo Gonzalez from Green Steps

Pablo Gonzalez

Agronomist with interest on sustainable farming and soil fertility; traveled to different parts of the world to broaden his view beyond agriculture. Currently based in Shanghai working as consultant in crop nutritional management and soil fertility.

Portrait of Florian Pihs of Green Steps

Florian Pihs

Managing Director at Publicis China, leading a multi-disciplinary team of consultants, strategists and creatives; since 18 years in China; special interest in data, analytics and optimization; founder of the Web Analytics Wednesday China after graduating with an MBA from the HKUST Business School.

RYAN PIRAULT

Permaculture Designer and ISA Arborist practicing Beyond Organic, Bio-Cultural Farming. A Plant Nut focused on Healthy Living through food and consciousness.Permaculture Designer and ISA Arborist practicing Beyond Organic, Bio-Cultural Farming. A Plant Nut focused on Healthy Living through food and consciousness.

PASCAL BALLON

“The “modern” way of living made me forget that I was probably a passionate ecologist when I was 10 years old.” 2019 he left the corporate world to start up the Linkpro network with the hope to do more than just talking about what should be the place of humans in the Gaia ecosystem but to act, proposing corrective actions to industrial sites.

IAN DOUGLAS JONES

Creative director of polymath studio Atelier I-N-D-J, with a basis in architecture. Always had a strong affinity with nature, yet as its prescient decline emerges and response takes on urgency; Ian is tasking to reconcile a typically urbane profession with responsible and humane outcomes that benefit the natural world.

GEMME VAN HASSELT

Serial internet entrepreneur since 1997. Fascinated by data and how these rightly and/or wrongly influence the world around us. Currently living in Shanghai and soon roaming the world.

LOUIS LEE

U.S. trained Doctor of Physical Therapy (Creighton University) specializing in manual therapy and educational lecturer. Tai Chi lover – integrating his healing practices with Tai Chi movements; board-certified ergonomic specialist evaluating human movement as it relates to the modern work environment.

KATJA HEILKOTTER

Creative facilitator driven by passion to link people, potential and purpose. Founder of CONSTELLATIONS International, 2009 in Shanghai, 2016 in Berlin. Host of C*SPACE Berlin, hub for Sino-International change maker community. Background in China & Management studies. Initiator CITYMAKERS China-Europe network.

Stefan Kratz

Master’s in Political Science and Business Administration, worked in fields of sustainable development, poverty alleviation and clean energy in the U.S., Germany, Italy, France, China, Tibet and Vietnam for past 25 years. Currently co-founder of solar rooftop energy company in Vietnam.

Benedikt Madl

Studied business, sinology and political science in Vienna, Clermont-Ferrand (F) and Beijing. After three postings with the European External Action Service he is back in Brussels with the European Commission working in the field of development cooperation.

Shen-Ying Tung

BA and MA in History of Art and Archaeology at SOAS, University of London. Working in Shanghai for foreign liaison and public relation as well as interpretation and translation training, to help international professionals and organizations follow Chinese public complexes and incorporate their cross-cultural differences into positive experiences in the Chinese globalization.

HANS MARTIN GALLIKER

Ecopreneur with roots in farming, information technology and textile. Since 2010 fostering creativity- and sustainability-oriented communities in China with pioneering startups, platform services, advisorship and consultancy.

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past staff

CATALINA CHITACU

Nature Guide

Certified leadership trainer and outdoor educator, with a technical background and 15 years of experience in education. Passionate rock climber and hiker, looking to share good habits and create healthy mindset for environment conservation.

ANNA RIGILLO

Service Designer

A BS in Industrial Design and a MA in Service Design between Milan and Shanghai. Believes in the role of design in making environmental care reasonable and actionable for everyone in their small way. Enjoys listening to stories, putting ideas on paper and growing things.

sam zhang

FullStack developer

Sc in Urban Construction and Environment Engineering, Web developer, Linux enthusiast, interested in the impact of technology on society, environment and education. Likes: outdoor running, good taste music, and science. Dislikes: entropy.

Portrait of Montana Meeker from Green Steps

Montana Meeker

Intern

Business administration undergraduate student with a focus on environmental impact aleviation and social innovation.

Portrait of Montana Meeker from Green Steps

Libby Fox

Intern

Environmental Sustainablity bachelor, with a focus on environmental education and environmental resources management .

Portrait of Leonie Morand from Green Steps

Leonie Morand

Intern

Graduated from high school in Switzerland.
Has been a member of a scout group for 12 years. As a scout leader organizes and facilitates regular activities and camps for children and teenagers all over the year.
Did a two-month internship with Green Steps in 2019.

Portrait of Samaira Saleem from Green Steps

Samaira Saleem

Intern

Political Science Undergrad with an interest in youth activism, sustainability, gender equality and engaging young people in decision making.

Lance Zefei wu

Intern

Interested in Natural Sciences (Biological) and Biotechnology. Currently an U6 student at an UK boarding school. Head of Chemistry Society and captain of fencing team. Duke of Edinburgh Gold Candidate.

XIAOFANG SUSKITA

Wechat Content Creator

Passionate photographer, biker, and blogger. loves travelling, spreading happiness and raising awareness for sustainability. keen about connecting you with nature through her photos, videos and stories.

LI FANGFANG

Nature Guide

Law degree; kayak coach; working experience as a farm agent; assistant teacher of guitar, keyboard, ukri and African drum. Likes cooking, nature, and physical exercise.

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