Our team is made up of passionate and dedicated professionals. We have a wide variety of education and experience ranging from environmental education, integrative nutrition, agricultural communications, biology, chemistry and so much more! We are thrilled to introduce you to all the members of the SEEAG team!


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Mary Maranville

Founder & CEO

Mary Maranville founded Students for Eco-Education and Agriculture (SEEAG) in 2008.

“Even with California’s rich agricultural heritage, children don’t make the connection between the acres of farmland around them to the food on their tables. SEEAG’s education programs help make that connection; providing kids with field trips to local farms brings the message home even further.

My lineage is filled with multi-generational farmers. Being raised on a dairy farm in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York was such a privilege. At the same time I had no idea about the importance of my father’s work, putting food on household tables. When I came to Ventura County 20 years ago and saw the bounty of local agriculture and farms it inspired me. In 2008 I witnessed a local elementary school farm field trip in Santa Paula. Then and there I knew I could make a difference educating school children about the farm origins of their food and agriculture. Now, after providing over 40,000 school children with free field trips to local farms, there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think and appreciate my father. He loved growing things and providing food for families.

SEEAG is dedicated to my father and was founded to create agricultural ambassadors with the hope they will help preserve family farms around with world.

I hope you are inspired by SEEAG’s mission. Thank you.”

~Mary Maranville

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Lisa Emmert

Education Coordinator

Lisa Emmert joined SEEAG in July of 2015. She leads agriculture education in classrooms throughout Ventura and Los Angeles Counties and serves as team leader for SEEAG’s interactive, outdoor classroom – the Farm Lab at Petty Ranch. She is passionate about implementing student-led inquiry and encouraging a sense of wonder for our natural world through hands-on learning experiences. Lisa also leads middle and high school farm tours, focusing on Careers in Agriculture and career readiness.

While a student at California State University, Chico, Lisa worked with the Network for a Healthy California. She worked with the schools of Butte County, analyzing data and teaching students the importance of healthy living, including nutrition and exercise. The experience energized Lisa, and led her away from a path in clinical nutrition toward one in community health. Lisa obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Health Education from CSU Chico, with a minor in Nutrition.

Born and raised in Ventura County, Lisa is proud to be an educator working in her hometown and surrounding region, where she connects children’s knowledge about food to the rich heritage of agriculture in our community.


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Emily Skaar

Nutrition Educator

Emily joined SEEAG January of 2018 as a Nutrition Educator. She is a Ventura County native, born, raised and even attended Cal State University Channel Islands graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in business in 2017. Emily has a passion for working with children and has served children in the community for several years. Living in Ventura she has an appreciation for our agriculture and is excited to educate the importance of it with children. 


emily hidalgo

steam program coordinator

Emily joined SEEAG in September of 2018 as a STEAM Program Coordinator. With a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science & Resource Management from California State University Channel Islands, she is excited to join the SEEAG team and assist in building and deepening connections between students and agriculture through the STEAM Career Pathways program.

As an education intern for the National Park Service, she led eco-education programs for students within the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. It was there that she developed a passion for conducting informal education that connects students with their local environment through engaging experiences.

Being a Ventura County native, she considers it a privilege to utilize her education and experience in a way that benefits both our students and the future of our local agriculture.

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Chris Sayer

Farm Lab Consultant

Chris Sayer is the manager of Petty Ranch, which is home to SEEAG’s Farm Lab. Petty Ranch is a commercial producer of citrus and avocados, as well as the site for an experimental orchard that includes figs, apples, apricots, pears and persimmons.

Petty Ranch was engaged with “sustainable agriculture” long before that was a commonly used term. Beneficial insects have been part of the farm’s pest control program since the 1930’s. More recently, Petty Ranch has been known for their early adoption of microsprinkler irrigation and soil-building practices.

As the fifth generation of his family to manage the ranch, Chris served as a Navy pilot earlier in career, and was educated at Northwestern University. He is the Farm Advisor and a contributing writer for Edible Ojai and Ventura County. Chris has also been engaged in a variety of community and agricultural organizations, and currently serves on the boards of the Farm Bureau of Ventura County, Associates Insectary and Citrus Mutual Water Company.


Kim Herren

farm lab Educator

Board of Directors



Brett Burkey


Wood-Claeyssens Foundation



Melinda Beardsley


Beardsley & Son



Courtney Catalano

Director of Communications & Community Engagement

Reiter Affiliated Companies



Bradley Dykes

Branch Manager

Morgan Stanley




Steve Gill

CEO & President

Gill’s Onions



Marilyn Peake

Reiter Affiliated Companies



Heidi Whitcomb


Ventura Rental Party & Events