MEDIA TIP SHEET: Colorado State University Experts Provide Holiday Advice on Variety of Topics

Colorado State University experts are available to talk about a variety of subjects related to seasonal and holiday topics. The following list of faculty members is provided for media use only.

Live Christmas trees
Skip Smith, forestry professor in the Warner College of Natural Resources, can talk about different species of trees that serve as the best Christmas trees and how to properly cut down and care for a live Christmas tree. To speak with Smith, contact Kimberly Sorensen at (970) 491-0757 or

Holiday plants
Steve Newman, professor of Floriculture and Greenhouse Crops Extension Specialist for Colorado State University, can give advice on caring for and selecting a variety of holiday plants including poinsettias. After a five-year hiatus, Colorado State University poinsettia trails returned with 80 cultivars packing the 3,200 square-foot W. D. Holley Plant Environmental Research Center greenhouse on the CSU campus. On Dec. 1, growers, plant breeders, brokers, florists, and other industry members gathered to assess the plants, often choosing those they’ll grow next season. There is a poinsettia sale open to the public 10 a.m. -3 p.m. daily through Friday, Dec. 11 at the greenhouse, 630 W. Lake St. Poinsettias, the number one holiday plant sold in America, is a $9.2 million dollar wholesale industry in Colorado, Newman said.
For more information or to speak with Steve Newman, contact Jim Beers at (970) 491-6401 or

Current state of the economy
Ron Phillips, an economics professor, can discuss the current state of the U.S. economy and the effects of holiday spending on the recession. He has been a visiting scholar in the Division of Insurance at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in Washington, D.C., and a visiting scholar in the Bank Research Division at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Department of the Treasury, in Washington, D.C. To speak with Phillips, contact Kimberly Sorensen at (970) 491-0757 or

Tryptophan phenomenon – Myth or reality?
Shing Ho, professor and chair of the biochemistry department, and Norm Curthoys, biochemistry professor, can talk about tryptophan and recent research that debunks the tryptophan issue in terms of why we feel tired and sleepy after a turkey dinner. To speak with Ho or Curthoys, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or

Reducing energy consumption
Carol Dollard, energy engineer with the Facilities department at Colorado State University, can talk about energy savings around the holidays and useful tools, such as LED lights, for reducing energy consumption. To speak with Dollard, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or

Bob Sturtevant, CSU Extension forestry specialist for the Department of Forest, Rangeland and Watershed Stewardship, can talk about firewood issues including: how to determine if it is safe to transport wood from Mountain pine beetle killed trees, what causes the crunching sound in firewood and other firewood insect issues. He can also cover tips on buying wood such as, how firewood is measured, and what kinds of wood consumers should not be buying. To speak with Sturtevant, contact Kimberly Sorensen at (970) 491-0757 or

Cold holidays and winters for pets
Many people remember to winterize their homes and cars for Colorado’s colder weather, and it’s also important to remember to pay special attention to keeping pets safe and warm. Outdoor pets need appropriate shelter to protect them from frigid temperatures, and it’s important to be on the lookout for pets seeking warmth in dangerous places such as under warm vehicles. Dietary adjustments for optimal health during the winter also should be considered, and a regular first aid check through a short list of cold-weather concerns can keep pets healthy. Dr. Rebecca Ruch-Gallie, Colorado State University veterinarian, can provide tips for keeping pets merry during Colorado’s winters. To speak with Ruch-Gallie, contact Dell Rae Moellenberg at (970) 491-6009 or

Keeping pets safe during the holidays and winter
Colorado State University veterinarian Vicki Campbell can give pet owners life-saving tips for the holidays and winter. For example, Campbell can give tips about preventing and spotting antifreeze poisoning. Antifreeze is tasty but fatal to pets unless emergency care is started within a few hours. Even small amounts of the substance licked off a cat’s paws or lapped off the sidewalk could be life-threatening. Holiday decorations also are interesting distractions, but cats or dogs who ingest decorations and tinsel could end up with a completely obstructed intestinal tract. Campbell can help hazard-proof the holidays and winter for pets and provide information about when it is critical to see a veterinarian. To speak with Campbell, contact Dell Rae Moellenberg at (970) 491-6009 or

Staying positive at the holidays
Michael Steger, assistant professor of counseling psychology and applied social psychology, can talk about positive psychological topics such as meaning in life, happiness, positive emotions, savoring, and the “up” side of the holidays. He can talk about mindfulness and acceptance techniques that might help people ride out the “down” side of the holidays. He can speak about the social instigators of depression that people could think about during the holidays to help them get the most out of this time of year – focusing on authentic interactions, the two-way benefits of reaching out to others, and how to help other people share their good news in such a way that it makes everyone feel good. To speak with Steger, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or

Colorado weather analysis
Colorado State University State Climatologist Nolan Doesken is available to discuss snow totals and impacts on drought, weather observation, historical climate data, precipitation and seasonal weather patterns. He also can address agricultural, recreational, hydrologic and industrial applications of climate information. Doesken’s 35 years of professional experience in weather research, climate studies, data acquisition, analysis and archiving provides him the expertise to address a wide variety of climate-related questions. He can also talk about the statewide volunteer network, Community Collaborative Rain, Snow and Hail Network that improves precipitation monitoring and helps provide detailed storm analysis, drought, water supply and other water decision-making information to municipalities, homeowners, industries, utility providers, resource managers and educators. To speak with Doesken, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or

Watching weight gain over the holidays
Worried about packing on the pounds during the holiday season? Want to know what food is healthy at that holiday party? And do you need tips for cooking for guests with special diets? Colorado State University nutrition expert Melissa Wdowik can talk about eating wisely during the holiday season and tailoring menus for food allergy concerns, diabetes or other issues. To speak with her, contact Dell Rae Moellenberg at (970) 491-6009 or

Coping with the holidays
Mark Benn, psychologist and adjunct professor at Colorado State, can offer some insights into how to bring magic back into the holidays. Acknowledging that many of us feel depression during this season, Benn can offer some humorous anecdotes and a perspective that may help us cope just a little bit better. To speak with Benn, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or

Stock market and economy
Sanjay Ramchander, associate professor of Finance in the College of Business, can talk about the stock market, the economy and international markets. He is an expert on corporate finance, energy and oil futures. To speak with Ramchander, contact Jennifer Dimas (970) 491-1543 or