Staff

Marissa LaMagna - Founding Executive Director

Marissa LaMagna began Bay Area Green Tours (BAGT), in Berkeley, California in 2008, initially as a project of The San Francisco Green Festival. It has grown into an educational organization showcasing local green models focused on creating a positive and sustainable future.
Marissa's career has included working as a community organizer, environmental activist, children's educator, vegetarian chef, film editor and yoga teacher. Along her path, some career highlights include helping to start the North Shore Youth Council in New York (now a successful Boys & Girls Club), associate producer for The Sounds of Science (now Pulse of the Planet), an award-winning internationally syndicated radio show; founding member of the Nuclear Beauty Parlor, a San Francisco anti-nuclear women’s performance and educational group; and worked with the Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor in New York to close down an incinerator.
In 2004, Marissa founded Studio Rasa, a green-certified community arts and wellness center in Berkeley with a mission of fostering health and environmental awareness. Her passion for teaching morphed into Bay Area field trips for people of all ages from around the world. Marissa has also served on the Board of Directors of The Sustainable Business Alliance and is a member of The Berkeley Chamber of Commerce, The Green Chamber of Commerce, Buy Local Berkeley, The Berkeley and California Food Policy Councils, Slow Money and The Berkeley Climate Action Coalition. She has recently completed a year-long East Bay Leadership Program sponsored by the Emeryville and Berkeley Chamber of Commerce.
When she’s not working at the David Brower Center as part of the Sustainable Enterprise Cluster in Berkeley and directing BAGT, you can find her taking in a local film, reading novels or shaking it up on the dance floor. She spends free time camping in pastures of friend’s farms, perched on the side of a cliff overlooking the ocean or exploring the over one hundred thousand acres of the East Bay Regional Parks.
Marissa holds a MA degree in Education from Antioch College and a BS degree in English Education with a minor in film from Ohio University. Her words to live by: Eat something green and sweat everyday!
Marissa can be reached at marissa@bayareagreentours.org and you can also book her for a speech at your event.


Rachel Fessenden - Financial Administrator and Human Resources Director

Rachel has held a variety of positions in her native Bay Area, including working at UC Berkeley’s Plant Biology department and in outreach for the local chapter of the Sierra Club. She majored in biology at Oberlin College, and has a strong commitment to creating a greener and more just life for all. Rachel joined the team in March 2011 as an intern and has held the roles of Farm Tour Manager as well as General Administrator at BAGT, and currently serves as the in-house Bookkeeper. In her spare time she enjoys exploring East Bay parks, babysitting her newborn niece, and trying out new recipes.
Rachel can be reached at rachel@bayareagreentours.org.


Batya Gelfand - Human Resources & Operations Manager

Batya (aka Beth) has more than 20 years of experience as an event producer, marketer/publicist, writer/editor, and volunteer/project manager for a variety of non-profits tackling societal and environmental issues. This is her fourth year working with Bay Area Green Tours, which is a pleasure and an honor! Batya served for many years as a board member and the events producer of the Sustainable Business Alliance. She has worked as a legislative aide for Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and for over ten years in the field of citizen diplomacy and economic development for Russia. Batya and her husband Scott own The Buddy Club Children's Shows - the Bay Area's longest-running shows for families which entertain over 100,000 families a year with more than 100 live performances in Berkeley, Oakland, Danville, San Rafael, Mill Valley and San Francisco theaters. Their 29 year old company proudly markets the natural and organic products industry to 13 million families nationwide, and provides high quality children's entertainers for private events as well. Batya also works as a promoter and producer for Studio 12 Flys, an aerial dance studio in West Berkeley, and is the proud mom of the amazing Rose and Talia. She can be reached at batya@bayareagreentours.org and you can contact her with internship/volunteer inquiries.


Suzy Karasik - Tour Manager/Program Manager

Suzy’s been involved and supported BAGT since its inception. She brings to the organization decades of experience in a variety of fields, including Secondary School Teacher, Convention Services and Event Planning, Hi-tech Business Development, Somatic Education, Nutrition, Permaculture Design, international humanitarian work, and teaching about sustainability and preserving our precious Mother Earth. An avid activist and community organizer, Suzy also volunteers with the Pachamama Alliance as a Symposium Leader, Bay Area Integral, and Beyond the Culture of Separation, a program for white-identified people committed to changing the story of separation. Suzy is passionate about bringing BAGT’s eye opening tours into the corporate arena. She wholeheartedly believes that educating people about successful green business ventures in our own communities is a vital and powerful experience that needs to be known, shared and appreciated.


Baxter – Tour Mascot

Baxter loves long walks on the beach, hiking in the mountains, and all things green. He’ll be your best friend if you say “hi".
Baxter can be reached at baxter@ebgt.org