College of Agriculture

Blakely Green

Graduate Student in Biology

Blakeley Green grew up in Tulare County, the second leading agricultural county in the nation. The Visalia native’s father worked in the animal nutrition industry her whole life. But despite being surrounded by agriculture’s influence, Green had no interest in pursuing a career in the agricultural industry.

Growing up, Green’s interests had centered around music. In high school, she played various instruments such as the clarinet, saxophone, and guitar. She was as surprised as anyone when she decided to change her major from psychology to agriculture with an option in crops, horticulture, and land resource management. Her change of heart came in an introductory English course during her freshmen year at Chico State. The teacher played a documentary in class called Food Inc., which sparked her curiosity about how people raise not just their livestock, but also their crops.

Entering Audrey Denny’s introduction to plant science lab, Green didn’t expect much other than to learn about plants. It turned out that Denney’s class would be the influence she needed to switch her major to agriculture.

“Audrey opened my eyes to all the possibilities within plant science, and that unlocked a passion I didn’t realize I had,” Green said.

After graduating with her degree in agriculture and an option in crops, horticulture and land resource management in 2015, Green is now pursuing her master’s degree in biology and aspires to focus her career on insects and their effects on various crops. Her dream would be to be able to bridge the gap in research between the laboratory work and field work.

“I personally enjoy doing both lab work and field work,” Green said, “and many times, it is hard in research to do both and be successful.”

Another big inspiration during her college career has been Betsy Boyd, a plant science professor at Chico State. Over the past couple years, Green has not only worked with Professor Boyd on various insect research projects, but she also fulfilled her undergrad internship requirement by helping Boyd survey numerous locations around the Chico area for mistletoe.

Green’s research experience started in 2012 while working with Boyd and one of her graduate students on a navel orange worm project. From there, she moved into a Pacific Coast Producers grant in 2013, in which she would go out to the field with Boyd and collect Bermuda grass samples, then prepare them for a future nutrient analysis. 

In the summer of 2013, Green conducted a survey of mistletoe along water banks in Butte County. The field sites included the Sacramento River, Feather River, Big Chico Creek, and Butte Creek. She collected plant samples from each tree to identify which species were susceptible to mistletoe and which ones were not. Green also collected mistletoe samples to determine the major species of mistletoe being found around Butte County.

Green’s current research focuses on the psocoptera bug, commonly known as booklice. Since 2014, Green and Boyd have been studying the biological and ecological implications of this species found in almond and pistachio orchards in California.

In November of 2015, Green was invited to present her psocoptera research at the California State University Agriculture Research Institute (ARI) annual showcase in Long Beach. She presented on the four species and the number of psocids collected in almond and pistachio plant material found in orchards in Madera and Kern Counties in February 2014.

Green credits her success and interest in horticulture to Boyd and Denny.

“I am incredibly grateful both to both of them for opening my eyes to the research world, specifically in horticulture and insects,” she said.

Green’s plans for the next couple years include finishing her master’s degree and becoming more involved with agricultural research. In the next five years, Green sees herself working with farmers to further understand why they use certain practices and how to make their procedures specific to each crop and field to help the farmers be as productive as they can be.

When it comes to her time spent at the College of Agriculture, Green specifically enjoys the community aspect.

“When walking into Plumas Hall, there is always a presence of welcome and openness towards all who enter” she said. “That feeling of community is hard to come by at many different institutions and we are so lucky in the College of Ag to have that.”

Her advice for students entering the College of Agriculture is to get involved where they can and don’t be afraid to explore all options. Green has learned this from firsthand experience and urges others to keep doors open for the different opportunities that the College of Agriculture offers.

“If I hadn’t chosen to explore crops and horticulture while under a psychology major, I would have never known the passion I have for agriculture,” Green said.