Meet Our Team


|| Steve Braun  ||
Executive Director

Steve is an environmental scientist and educator, having worked in school leadership from the classroom to the state level. Steve earned a doctorate in Earth, Environment and Society, a Master’s Degree in Special Education and Bachelors in Environmental and Resource Management. He has worked on several grant teams including those funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, the United States Forest Service and the Gray Family Foundation. He currently serves on the Oregon Environmental Literacy Program Council. He has authored publications in the Green Teacher and Environmental Education Research. He earned his permaculture certificate in 2002, is an amateur herbalist, brewer and outdoor recreation enthusiast. He lives locally with his partner Amanda and daughter Oriah.

IMG_0771|| Abby Colehour  ||
Director of the Permaculture and Land Systems Department; Resident Steward

Abby took the Permaculture Design course in 2015 and became smitten with the human and plant systems in the Aprovecho community. She thinks she is greatly fortunate as the Household Steward to have the opportunity to support local food producers and provide healthy food to the inspiring folks at Aprovecho. As a “master-generalist” in training, she dabbles in gardening, botany, woodworking, building, sewing, fermentation, basketry, hide-tanning, music, herbalism, and other things. Her life mission is be excellent at keeping herself healthy, to find a place in the world where she flows simply with the natural and human landscape, and to inspire others to do the same.

10872863_10202981686255217_5833257683621500560_o|| Bradley Tschirgi  ||

Campus Steward; Appropriate Technology Assistant

Bradley has a passion for developing sustainable, non-violent culture through renewable and human-power energy. He’s developing an expertise in human-powered machines, especially with regards to the use of bicycles in innovative capacities. He’s been a part of the Aprovecho campus and community since 2012. He also works at Child’s Way Charter School teaching alternative technology to middle- and high-schoolers. He has a rad new pup named Bark who is a very good boy and whom everyone loves.

20160705_114238-1|| Heather Greene  ||
Sustainable Business Program Director

Heather is a scholar activist, currently completing her MS in Food Systems and Society at Marylhurst University. With a long history of participation in sustainability and social change movements, her focus the last two decades has been on the creation of socially minded, environmentally conscious businesses. She believes that if we all engage in a global holistic imagination that a future of world health and community prosperity is possible. Her experience as a mother of 4, educator, student, artist and entrepreneur, have brought her to Aprovecho with a broad spectrum of skills and a great enthusiasm for teaching and growing a resilient connected community.

13087891_10206632802394995_6827916490246185013_n|| Abel Kloster  ||
Land Steward

A fourth generation Oregon native, Abel is well acquainted with the forests,  fields, and people of the Pacific Northwest where he has farmed, tended land, and indulged in the culture for many years.  Abel has been Aprovecho’s Land Steward since 2006.  He co-teaches and directs Aprovecho’ Permaculture programs and oversees the stewardship of Aprovecho’s 40 acre land trust  In addition to his work with Aprovecho, Abel is on the board of Agriculture and Community Land Trust and co-owner of Resilience Permaculture Design, a whole systems design firm specializing in farm and forestry planning and ecological restoration.  Abel has a B.S. degree in Land Stewardship for Sustainable Communities from Humboldt State University and is currently pursuing a masters in agroforestry from the University of Missouri. He received a certificate of Permaculture Design from Douglas and Sam Bullock of Orcas Island, Washington.  He also holds advanced Permaculture certificates in Permaculture Aid, Permaculture Earthworks, Optical Surveying, and Keyline Design.

|| Christopher Ryan Foraker  ||
Director of Natural Building Department

Chris comes from a family of teachers, bricklayers and biologists.  In 2004 he graduated from Montana State University with honors achieving a B.S. in Ecology and Evolution.  During this time he began his studies of woodcraft, round-pole joinery, small dwellings, and urban ecology.  Chris first came to Aprovecho in 2005 and has served the organization in the sustainable forestry and building departments.  In addition to his administrative tasks, he coordinates the Natural Building Programs at Aprovecho, specifically the Natural Building Practicum and the Sustainable Shelter Workshop Series, as well as the Appropriate Technology program.

Ozuo9SpI|| Maryam Mathieu  ||
Administrative and Marketing Director

Maryam began her journey toward sustainable living without realizing it when she spent a year in Thailand, where she witnessed modern-day slavery and vowed to spend her life fighting it. She earned her B.A. in International Studies from Saginaw Valley State University and her M.S. from New York University in Global Affairs, where she studied the relationship between international political economy, transnational organized crime, and human trafficking. Having spent her adult life searching for answers to fighting slavery in the modern era, her journey ultimately lead to the sustainability movement and helping support people get free. She is also a poet, writer, and artist, and she has many years of small- to medium-sized business development, graphic design, marketing, and administrative experience.