The Eden Projects President and Founder, Steve Fitch, grew up in the Philippines and loved to explore nature. In 1997 he returned to his boyhood home and was shocked by the destruction that had taken place. The jungles had been cut down, the topsoil was eroding into the ocean as a result of the deforestation, and the coral reefs were being smothered from all the soil runoff. In 1998 Steve began working in Ethiopia and saw deforestation’s tragic consequences on lands and lives there as well. Villagers shared how their crops were diminishing and their climate was changing.
In the early 2000′s he received an invitation from Haile Mariam, (Southern People’s Region President then, now President of Ethiopia), to take over a defunct reforestation nursery. Steve’s answer was obviously “yes!” Funds were raised, staff came together, and now, almost 10 years later, Eden Reforestation Projects has planted millions of seedlings and employed thousands of people.
Christopher is our Swiss Army knife. He brings a variety of business tools to the growing complexity of Eden's operations. With a background in finance, he oversees the financial aspects of Eden as well as IT and operations. He's a PC lover, (so don't let him hear you mention Apple), and will often pause mid-sentence to watch a beautiful car drive by.
Debbie has been supporting and working with Eden since its founding in 2005. She now manages marketing as well as Eden's partnerships with businesses, churches, schools, and various groups. 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.
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.
With an extensive background in operating and running the hustle and bustle of Family Entertainment Centers, Jennie brings innovative and creative ways to handle the administrative and managerial needs of Eden Reforestation. If you ever find yourself in a pickle, you can count on Jennie’s intense Jedi training, Anime researching skills, and Whovian outside thinking to save the day…or the planet depending on what is going on in the world.
Kierstyn manages Eden’s multiple social media networks, website blog posts, and email newsletters. Her super power is being able to tell incredible stories to people all over the world with just the click of a button! Her social platform of preference is Pinterest where you can find recipes she will definitely be trying out this weekend, a new project for her hubby to build, and lots of pictures of cats in boxes.
With a background in International Development and an affinity for adventure, Sehr is a born and bred Canadian girl. As Eden's International Program Coordinator, Sehr brings 10+ years of experience within the nonprofit sector and has extensive international 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.
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.
Neal is one of those crazy guys that jumped into this adventure by moving his wife and 3 children to Madagascar in 2014. Danielle (Neal's wife), keeps her plate full as a Midwife and helps run the Sarobidy Maternity Center in Mahajanga. When Neal isn't strategically planning pranks and practical jokes on his partners and family, he is working on empowering, equipping and preparing the team in Madagascar to grow Eden's impact throughout the Island.
Craig has a heart for nature and people. That passion coupled with his expertise in agro-ecology and sustainable agriculture makes him the perfect man to head up the Eden team in Haiti! He's a lifelong learner and we're fairly certain when no one's looking he turns into Captain Planet. We're proud to say that we work with Craig!
Since she was a young girl, Rachhya wanted to work with people to improve the environment. Her degree in Environment and Natural Resources got her one step closer, and her dream was finally realized when she began working with Eden. Now, she works with people on a daily basis to improve the forests of Nepal and she thoroughly enjoys learning about and being close to nature.