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.”
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.
Nutrition Education Director
Rhianna joined SEEAG in September 2017 as the Nutrition Education Director. After working in non profit marketing for several years and graduating from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in July 2016, Rhianna is excited to join the SEEAG team. 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 has 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 is thrilled to join the Nutrition Education Program team and help spearhead the marketing efforts of SEEAG.
Caitlin joined SEEAG in 2016 when she completed an internship before her last year of undergraduate school. In 2017 she graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a B.S. in Agricultural Communications, and has continued to work for SEEAG remotely and in the office since. Caitlin is currently pursuing her master's degree in Sustainability Solutions at Arizona State University, where she is building her capacity and knowledge regarding social entrepreneurship and natural-human systems. She was born and raised in a small town in Northern California, where she first developed a passion for nature, the environment and agriculture. Caitlin aims to bring this same passion to SEEAG to help educate the next generation about food production and the valuable resources that are used in the process.
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.
Field Trip Educator
Field Trip Educator
Field Trip Educator
Morgan Elliot studied Natural Resource Management with a concentration in Fish and Wildlife Biology at Oregon State University. She has spent the last 10 years working a Marine Biologist for the National Marine Fisheries Service. In 2015, she decided to change her career and focus on educating future generations about Natural Resources. She is currently working toward a California Teaching Credential and a Masters in Education. When Morgan First discovered SEEAG, she fell in love with their commitment to the education of our youth and the importance of agriculture. She loves teaching children about agriculture as a food source, future career possibilities, as well as sustainable uses and management. Morgan is currently an educator at the Petty Ranch Farm Lab, teaching students about insects not only as an important part of the ecosystem but also how people use the magnificent creatures in Agriculture.
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.