The CEO and Founder of Eden Reforestation Projects (Eden), Dr. Stephen Fitch, grew up in the Philippines with a love for exploration and nature. As an avid diver and outdoor enthusiast, he was shocked to return to his boyhood home in 1997 and find the large scale environmental destruction that had taken place. The jungles he used to play in had been cut down, the topsoil was eroding into the ocean as a result of deforestation, and the coral reefs he used to dive through and explore were being smothered from all the soil runoff.
Witnessing this type of ecological destruction in a place he called home, left a lasting impression. An impression that would then help pave the way for the creation and impact of Eden.
In 1998 Steve had the opportunity to begin working in Ethiopia and witnessed the same devastation and tragic consequences of deforestation on the lives of the local communities and the environment around them.
In 2004, while in Ethiopia, Stephen received a surprising request from President Haile Mariam of the Southern People’s Region to take over a failed seedling nursery and forest restoration project. Seeing this as an opportunity to make an impact and help reverse the devastating effects of deforestation he witnessed in the Philippines and elsewhere in the world, he answered with a definite ‘YES!’.
Funds were raised, staff came together, and now, almost 14 years later, Eden has planted millions of trees in Ethiopia, Madagascar, Haiti, Nepal, Indonesia, Mozambique, Kenya, Nicaragua, and Honduras. Eden has also employed thousands of people living in extreme poverty, leading to a transformed socioeconomic life.
As CEO and Founder of Eden, Steve’s job is to ensure that Eden’s mission to "Plant Trees - Save Lives” ends up representing far more than mere words.
Debbie has been supporting and working with Eden since its founding in 2005. After fulfilling roles in administration, community and social media management and marketing, she now serves as Eden’s Chief Development officer and manages Eden's growing number of partnerships with businesses, churches, schools, and groups. Presenting Eden publicly and building relationships with these businesses and groups is a high point of her work. When she’s not at work, you can probably find her enjoying time on the Colorado River or in Morro Bay with her family and her chocolate lab, Kona.
Ian joined the Eden team as Director of Finance in 2019. Prior to joining Eden, Ian served in a variety of different nonprofit sectors ranging in size from large to small. Ian has spent nearly all of his professional career in the nonprofit sector in the areas of accounting, finance, and consulting. Alongside his awesome team, he manages Eden’s finances, accounting, and other business operations. When he is not working, you can find him backpacking in the Southern California mountains or dreaming about crushing miles on trail in the High Sierra.
Edith joined Eden in late 2017 as the organization’s Director of Marketing. Her 12 years of experience in advertising, fundraising, and communications made her a natural fit. When she isn’t crafting the best way to share Eden’s story, you can find her and her husband at the local ballpark taking in a baseball game, or dancing.
With a Masters degree in Global Studies and an affinity for the outdoors, Sehr is a born and bred Canadian girl. As Eden's International Program Director, Sehr brings 10+ years of experience within the nonprofit sector and has extensive international and cross-cultural experience, with over 35 countries under her belt. When she is not at work, you can find her working on a new home improvement project or catching a flight to her next adventure.
Craig has a heart for nature and people. That passion coupled with his expertise and skills in agro-ecology and sustainable agriculture makes him an invaluable asset to Eden in Haiti. Having lived in Haiti for several years, Craig is fluent in Creole and a true Haitian at heart. He's a lifelong learner and we're fairly certain when no one's looking he turns into Captain Planet.
Natasha Kerr holds B.A. degrees in International Affairs & Latin American Studies from George Washington University. She holds a M.A. degree in International Development with a concentration in Environmental Studies from the University of Denver. Natasha has extensive experience working on national and international initiatives relating to issues of nutrition, education, agriculture, environmental justice, housing, immigrant & refugee rights. Natasha has managed agriculture programs in Afghanistan and environmental education programs throughout the U.S. and Latin America. She is inspired by Eden’s mission working to restore habit and build community across the globe. Natasha enjoys the outdoors, cultural events, live music, and travel.
As a young girl, Rachhya was intrinsically motivated by the communities around her and the need for environmental change. As an adult, Rachhya completed her degree in Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Kathmandu, and joined Eden. Through her work with Eden, she is now able to work with remote communities around her country in improving their environment, forests and access to livelihoods. Rachhya enjoys being outdoors, whether that’s hiking world famous Himalayan trails or simply working on her garden at home.
Jesse was born and raised in Indonesia, living in East Borneo, Jakarta and Bali throughout his life. Having been exposed to so many different areas of Indonesia, Jesse grew up with a profound appreciation for its natural beauty and diversity. Armed with an understanding of the need for reforestation and poverty alleviation in his country, Jesse has been working with Eden to engage remote communities in reforesting their land. In his free time, Jesse is an avid volunteer for local organizations, an adventurous hiker and an enthusiastic soccer player.
Gildo was born in Mozambique. He has worked in international nonprofit organizations for over twenty five years in leadership and management roles and social entrepreneur, 2013 received his PhD in recognition of his passion and dedication to change lives and communities and is married to Elaine Cuamba. They have three beautiful children.
Renet Was born and raised in Haiti. He got his degree in Education (Administration) and managed classic and professional schools. He is married to Carmen Pierre-Louis. Renet has a love for Mother Nature; he creates Precious Sand Art, has educative Radio Show, and he likes planting orchards and forests. It was always Renet’s dream to have the opportunity to be involved in impacting his country by reforesting strategic sites that need this intervention and educate people to do the same. Eden makes that dream comes true. For Renet, being part of Eden is not just a job but also a passion and a hobby. He not only likes planning and organizing but being outdoor in full action on the field.
Andrew Kinzer and Alex de Sosa Kinzer
Andrew grew up in Kenya and from a young age, began to realize how the health of communities and the environment were interconnected. This realization directed him down a path of research and conservation work, focused primarily on the collaborative natural resource management of forest resources in East Africa. His MS in Environmental Policy and Planning from the University of Michigan, Geographic Information Systems experience, heart for training and capacity building, and love for fieldwork have helped him develop Eden's teams and skills in the African countries where Eden works. When not working Andrew is generally camping, climbing, or hiking with his wife and daughter.
Alex is an ecological designer with a background in creating landscape-level solutions to environmental issues. While working toward her masters’ degrees in Landscape Architecture and Conservation Ecology, Alex developed her skills in project planning and management in international contexts. As one of Eden’s regional directors, Alex works with the U.S. International Operations team to direct the regional strategy for Eden’s growth in mainland Africa. She enjoys working with Eden’s on-the-ground teams to build tools and strategies to increase efficiency, productivity, and confidence in their context. She’s always inspired by the way Eden’s local teams use mental maps of their own communities to successfully restore habitats. It’s these local visions for thriving forests and communities that bring her into work each day. When she’s not at work, you can find Alex camping with her family, taking care of houseplants, or doing creative projects.
Victor is from western Kenya. He has a background in working with bamboo. He also has experience in a variety of leadership roles.
James (Jamie) Shattenberg
Jamie was born and raised a missionary kid in Madagascar. So naturally he’s found himself back there with his wife Alissa working as our International Project Leader. Alissa is a licensed midwife and Family Nurse Practitioner and has been putting her expertise to use as the Director of the Sarobidy Center. If ever there was a couple that could single-handedly save the world, it would be these two. When Jamie isn’t wrestling alligators (we have pics to prove it) and Alissa isn’t saving lives, they keep busy with their three children.
With a background in business management, Ryan balances Eden's financial books. When he isn't buried in spreadsheets and projections, he enjoys jetting off to new cities in search of new adventures. You can find him balancing more than books during the weeknights with a busy schedule of ice hockey and bowling.
Having the opportunity to grow up on a farm in Texas cultivated Jennie's passion for wide-open spaces, nature and all of its inhabitants, and the desire to live in harmony with her surrounding environment. With an educational background in Forestry, Natural History Science, and a BA in English Literature, Jennie believes that the key to solving some of the world's most problematic issues are collaborations with like-minded people and innovative sustainable solutions that benefit the local communities. Throughout her career as both an operations manager and a human resources consultant, Jennie focused on streamlining systems to drive organizational mission delivery while enhancing the productivity and quality of life for employees. In her spare time, you can find Jennie enjoying hikes and kick-boxing, watching Liverpool soccer games with her amazing husband, playing board games, and spoiling her golden Labrador, Brooklyn.
Loretta joined Eden in late 2018. She has worked in nonprofit organizations for over ten years, bringing with her many years of administrative and management skills. The majority of her time away from the office you will find her with her ever-growing family, including her three daughters, her sons-in-law, and grandkids. For Loretta, every day is another unexpected adventure with the crazy yet loving family she has raised.
Ezra joined Eden in late 2018. He is a born adventurer with a master’s degree in Geography/Environmental Science. He has a passion for traveling and exploring the world’s most far out places and cultures. Over his 15-year career, he has worked in over 30 countries: from the deepest rain forests of the Congo Basin to remote islands of Papua New Guinea. He has worked mostly with non-profit organization such as the Wildlife Conservation Society. He now works collaboratively with Eden's amazing international and local teams to help expand and carefully track the impact of its global reforestation efforts.
Josiah officially joined the Eden team in February of 2020 and has volunteered in different capacities since 2008. He has extensive field and clerical knowledge of geophysical surveying, mapping, ground penetrating radar as well as web development. Eden has been a big part of Josiah’s upbringing and cares deeply for the work being done so when given the opportunity to become a member of the team he jumped at the opportunity.
Haley received her Bachelors degree in Business Administration and joined the Eden team in 2020 as the Executive Assistant for the Development Department. She realized her love for nature while working on a 6-week long conservation project in Costa Rica. In her free time, she enjoys working out and taking trips to the beach with family and friends.
Eva serves in the role of an Account Manager here at Eden. She has a B.S. in Business Management from Cal Poly Pomona and a long background in management, coupled with experience working hands on with both local and international non-profit organizations. Eva feels at home working alongside a team that is zealous about giving back to the world. Eva has a passion for traveling and an affinity for the outdoors, you can always find her planning her next adventure.
Matt grew up in Pasadena, CA and has since moved far away to Sierra Madre, CA. He is an account manager for Eden’s business partners. He went to grad school for Organizational Management and Consulting. Using what he has learned, he is improving systems and processes of the development department in his spare time. He is very excited to be a part of such a great organization and team of dedicated people!
Sarah joined Eden in early 2020 as an Account Coordinator. She has earned a Master in Development Studies while studying abroad in London, which has not only sparked her desire to help others, but also her love to travel and experience new cultures. When Sarah is not traveling, she enjoys reading or spending time with her family, friends, and pets.
Maher joined Eden in February 2020 as the Creative Supervisor. Maher always had a love for the creative arts which lead him to become a character sketch artist for The Walt Disney Company in 2010, from there his love for the craft grew and grew which lead him to the Eden team where he could push his skills even further. Maher is married with two beautiful babies (6 years old and 4 years old). If Maher isn't at work, him and his family are either at Dodgers Stadium or Disneyland.
Caleb joined Eden in 2018 and has since been an essential member of the marketing team. Caleb’s artistic nature is ever present in his life both professionally and personally. He is passionate about music and is a lead singer for a band. He enjoys playing at local venues including the Mint in LA. Henry's music focuses in on his real life experiences.
Kassaundra Bricker joined Eden’s marketing team as a Communications Coordinator in the Spring of 2020. She has a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Azusa Pacific University. She has experience in marketing, business development, and social media. On her free time, you will find her and her husband exploring wildlife at San Diego Zoo and Safari Park.
Eden Reforestation Projects Board of Directors
Steve is an entrepreneur, adventurer, and visionary who sought and developed a solution for addressing the issues of deforestation and extreme poverty through the establishment of Eden Reforestation Projects. Since 2005, the organization has planted hundreds of millions of trees in multiple nations across three continents. Eden’s care for the planet begins with poverty alleviation, and the organization provides transformational employment to over 16,000 people.
Steve began his career in the Free Methodist Church, where he served as an inner-city youth leader, Pastor, and Superintendent. During his years as a Superintendent, he Co-Founded Continental New Life International (CNLI), which addressed issues related to poverty in Ethiopia through the establishment of medical clinics, a hospital, an HIV orphan daycare center, and six elementary schools.
Steve holds a BA in Business Administration from Azusa Pacific University, a Masters of Divinity equivalent from Fuller Seminary and Azusa Pacific Graduate School of Theology, and a Doctorate from Azusa Pacific University, where he was the Doctoral Student of the Year.
Steve, and his wife Claudette, have three children and two grandchildren.
Mr. Barker began his career in the financial services industry as a trader and investment banker at Kidder Peabody, Piper Jaffray and Salomon Brothers. In 2015, he served as an executive fellow at the Yale School of Management. He holds a BA in Economics from Tufts University and an MBA from Columbia University.
in building Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Strategic Planning, Private/Public Partnerships and Philanthropic strategies. Prior to this Mr. Gaston was President of the Western Union Foundation; served as the Senior Advisor to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund; and was President of the Verizon Foundation.
In addition to Eden Reforestation Projects, Patrick serves on a number of national non-profit boards including the NAACP Foundation, America’s Charities, KidSpirit, and is an emeritus member of the advisory board the US Chamber of Commerce Center for Corporate Citizenship.
Patrick was raised in Haiti, Montreal, Canada and Boston, Massachusetts. He holds a B.A. in management from the University of Massachusetts and a M.B.A. from Northeastern University. Additionally, he earned an International Certificate in Business from Ecole Superieure de Commerce in Reims, France. He is fluent in French, Spanish and English.
Patrick is married with two children and lives in the Washington, DC area.
Prior to this role, he was the founder and principal of a Consulting firm that specialized in business strategy and organizational transformation. He also spent a number of years in senior executive roles at Western Union, a global financial services company. His roles included COO/Head of Strategy for Western Union Business Solutions, the leading non-bank provider of international B2B payments, and also as the Chief of Staff for the Western Union CEO.
Prior to joining Western Union, Mr. Kilbane founded and led OptiSource Partners, a strategic consulting practice, as well as two smaller ventures. His earlier consulting career included an Associate Partner with IBM Global Services and with KPMG. He was an officer in the US Army, serving in multiple roles in aviation units in the US and overseas. Kilbane holds a B.S. in Engineering Management from the United States Military Academy.
Reforestation Projects Board since 2010.
Roger, and his wife Cathy, have three children and two grandchildren.
Patricia holds a BA from The New School for Social Research in New York, and an MA in Journalism from Northeastern University. Her co-op experience at Northeastern included work at the Christian Science Monitor Channel, an early pioneer in the 24-hour cable news space. Vos subsequently worked at WGBH (PBS affiliate), NBC’s Real Life, and WHDH (NBC affiliate), as well as for local independent producers who created program series for The History Channel, Telepictures, and others.
One freelance writing article led to a complete shift in gears. The article addressed the search for solutions among concerned racehorse owners and activists on what to do with the “slow” racehorse. Vos founded Tebogo Sport Horses, creating a social entrepreneurial solution: slow racehorses were purchased and retrained on a Virginia farm as sport horses, and resold to that market. Communications strategies highlighted the viability of this solution to broader audiences.
In addition to her position on the Board of Directors for Eden Reforestation Projects, Patricia serves as an Advisory Board member at The Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Maureen is a true global citizen. She has lived, worked and travelled across all continents and speaks five languages. She believes that new models of change including hybrid partnerships and value creation paradigm shifts are required to address the challenges that our beautiful planet is facing. Her extensive experience in both private & public sectors, her global & capillary network, plus her vibrant energy give her a very unique perspective that
allows her to drive impactful changes.
Last but not least, Maureen is the proud mother of four multi-cultural teenagers. And a budding poet.