Beekeeper and Lavender Expert
John Russo is the resident beekeeper and lavender expert at Carmel Valley Ranch and leads the signature beekeeping experience at the resort's on-site apiary that features more than 60,000 Italian honeybees.
In these weekly educational workshops where he's known to sprinkle in trademark bee humor, John teaches guest beekeepers about the fascinating lives of bees, their importance in the natural world and the highly-structured workings of life inside the hive, all before donning bee suits to peek inside an actual hive. John is also a lavender expert who presides over the more than 7,500 lavender plants that dot the resort in addition to leading unique seasonal programs including lavender distillation and lavender soap-making workshops.
Before finding his true calling in the Carmel Valley, John lived in Silicon Valley where he was the vice president of a software development company. Leaving behind a life of stress, John now lives in the Carmel Valley with his wife Yoko.
Mark Marino serves as the resident organic farmer and gardener at Carmel Valley Ranch, overseeing the resort's two-acre organic garden while also leading weekly tours. Mark also works closely with Chef Wood to ensure the on-site organic garden supports his seasonal menus while showcasing the freshest and highest-quality ingredients straight from The Ranch.
Mark has worked in organic farming and gardening for more than 35 years. After studying Alan Chadwick's French Intensive Biodynamic gardening method at Red Horizon Farm in Santa Barbara, Calif., he set out on a life-long passion to develop and refine techniques of growing specialty organic produce, flowers, herbs and experimental crops.
Fred is a teacher and the author of Extraordinary Golf: The Art of the Possible, Extraordinary Putting: Transforming the Whole Game, and Extraordinary Golf: The Secret to Transforming Your Game. He created the Extraordinary Golf coaching program to teach people about ways to self-coach. Fred also integrates deeper and broader aspects of learning, including how to work with information and how to develop a mastery practice. Extraordinary Golf has called The Ranch home for more than 20 years.
Guided Trail Rides
As Carmel Valley Ranch's resident Cowgirl, Molly Heneks provides guests and visitors with a memorable horseback experience. Touching along the way about local history, and the abundant flora and fauna species, Molly manages the resident herd of around 30 beautiful horses that live year round at the Hilltop Corral.
Growing up on a ranch here in Carmel Valley taught Molly to explore her world from the back of a horse. To her, there is nothing more magical than the experience someone can get from the back of a horse on the trail.
Molly received a degree in Environmental Studies with an emphasis on Wildlife. This allowed her to come home and combine her love of nature with her passion for horses into Carmel Valley Trail Rides.
Jill J. Rivoli
Certified Equine Guided Educator
My love of horses started virtually as soon as I was old enough to know what a horse was and I was fortunate to have my first one at nine years old. I've spent a lifetime with horses; riding, managing resort equestrian facilities, guest ranches, kids youth equine camps and it has been a wonderful journey. That journey led me to Equine Experiential Education.
Equine Experiential Education has profoundly impacted the way that I live my life by introducing me to the concepts and practices of awareness, connection and mindfulness through the way of the horse. I have since helped thousands of others improve the quality of their relationships including; co-workers (team building), family, friendships, spouses, and often most importantly, their relationship with their self.
I have always been fascinated with the interconnectedness of people and our relationship with each other and the natural world. My under graduate degree is in Anthropology, my graduate work is Social Sciences with an emphasis on Leadership and Experiential Education. I have certificates in Leadership from the American Hotel and Lodging Institute and the Ford Family Foundation, a teaching certificate in Environmental Education and a certification in Equine Guided Education.
Recently I was the manager of equine programs and facilitator for the "Equine Experience" at Miraval Resort in Tucson, AZ.
I believe that we are not put on this earth to be alone and that connection with others is something of interest to all beings.
I have lived in California, Oregon, Hawaii, Montana, Arizona, Idaho and gravitate towards places of great beauty.
I am a lifelong student of human behavior and love sharing experiences with people (horses and dogs rate just as high in my book).