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!
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. This education program helps make that connection; providing kids with field trips to local farms brings the message home even further.
“Today as a grown woman I realize being raised on a dairy farm in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York was such a rich and lovely privilege. At the same time I had no idea the importance and value of how hard my father worked putting food on household tables. When I came to Ventura County 18 years ago and saw all the amazing local agriculture and farms, it inspired me and made me nostalgic. 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 origins of their food and farming. Now, after providing over 20,000 kids with free field trips, there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think and appreciate my father. He truly loved being a farmer and now I understand why. Farming was part of him; it was not a separate entity-the farm was him and he was the farm. It was not work to him; he loved the animals and growing things.”
Rhianna joined SEEAG in September 2017 after working in nonprofit marketing for several years and graduating from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in July 2016. Growing up in Ventura County, she has a true passion for the community, sustainability, and shaping the health and wellness of the next generation. Rhianna specialized in helping women with autoimmune diseases and emotional eating tendencies. Using the knowledge she gained in school and experience working one-on-one she spearheaded the Nutrition Education Program team with a goal of reaching 10,000 students and continues to grow within her career at SEEAG as the Operations Director.
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.
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.
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.
Emily joined SEEAG in September of 2018 as a STEM Careers 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 STEM Careers 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.
Field Trip Educator