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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 activate the green areas in urban and suburban areas to connect them to nature. We make these areas more accessible and more exciting through guided and self-guided routes, which inform in a playful manner about our home turf and bioregion. Repeated outdoor exploration strengthens communities, creates a sense of responsibility and a new understanding of what and where is home.

Do you want to learn more about our local activities in Europe?
Download abd read this flyer in ENGLISH or GERMAN

Learn more about Green Steps as ERASMUS+ and European Solidarity Corps organisation here or on the European Youth Portal.

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


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

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.

Ellen Loasby

Green Steps Pioneer - South Korea

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


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.

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

Nature Guide EU

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; science nerd and enthusiastic outdoor photographer.

Gloria Corradini

Nature Guide EU

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.

James Halpin

Green Steps Pioneer - USA

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

Youssef Hamza

Nature Guide EU

MSc in Governance & Public policies, five years of political activism. Enjoys outdoor explorations and travelling. Believes in the potentialities of education as a mean to build a better world. Willing to contribute to the preservation of our planet. Passionate about creative writing and philosophy. Daytripper.

Michelle Sardón


Nature lover, peace maker and adventure chaser. Studied Business Economics and now transitioning to Nature and Biodiversity Conservation.
Work and volunteering experience in tourism and non-formal education structured youth exchanges. Learning and promoting understanding of the self (mind, body and soul) in order to live harmonously with the surroundings.


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.


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


“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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


past staff


Nature Guide


Service Designer

sam zhang

FullStack developer

Portrait of Montana Meeker from Green Steps

Montana Meeker


Portrait of Montana Meeker from Green Steps

Libby Fox


Portrait of Leonie Morand from Green Steps

Leonie Morand


Portrait of Samaira Saleem from Green Steps

Samaira Saleem


Lance Zefei wu



Wechat Content Creator


Nature Guide


Hoopoe Summit Organizer 2021


Nature Guide - China


Funding manager


Nature Guide - China


Nature Guide EU 

Richard nortey

Lead Tech support & DevOps Engineer 

Lamptey Khalid

Front End Developer 

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Green Steps Seoul represents the REWILD YOURSELF exhibition at Sinsa House in Seoul


In the fall, Ellen was part of an exhibition at Sinsa House in Seoul showcasing sustainable efforts in the Korean fashion and automotive industries. In a joint effort between environmentalist David de Rothschild and Hyundai Motor Cars, Seoul citizens were invited to the REWILD YOURSELF project. Here, city dwellers were able to step out of their busy indoor city lives and into a forest-like natural environment to experience its impact on them. Some visitors said it took them right back to their childhood….. find out more details through the interview below.

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The Human Being as Ecosystem Service Provider


This essay calls upon the reader to consider human resources as natural resources and the human species as a keystone species which can destroy and create ecosystems. Integrating human ecosystem services into the global economy requires a fair and decentralized remuneration which empowers individuals to contribute to a solution of the climate crisis. The introduction of a universal basic income which complements a shrinking labor market and distributes the productivity gains harvested through automation and digitalization is a solution to the environmental and social crisis.

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Multiple collaborations confirmed for 2023


Green Steps has started a cooperation with the Center for Urban Nature at the Technical University of Munich to visualize ecosystem services for trees. The collaboration aims at making the value of old trees easy to understand through engaging science communication. Several other collaborations have also been formalized.

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