Media Tip Sheet: Colorado State University Experts Available to Talk About Holidays

Note to Reporters: Colorado State University experts are available to talk about a variety of subjects related to the holiday season. The following list of faculty members is provided for media use only and is not intended for publication.

Psychology of the Holidays

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 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

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

Tree and Plant Care

Live Holiday 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 Tree Selection, Cutting and Care
Mike Hughes, assistant district forester for the Colorado State Forest Service Fort Collins District, can provide information about how to select, cut, transport and care for holiday trees, including recommendations on the best tree species. To speak with Hughes, contact Ryan Lockwood at (970) 491-8970 or

Holiday Tree Safety/Tree Recycling Tips
Keith Wood, community forester for the Colorado State Forest Service, can talk about how to prevent holiday trees from becoming fire hazards by selecting the right tree and providing simple tree care, as well as offer information about how, why and where to recycle trees after the holidays. To speak with Wood, contact Ryan Lockwood at (970) 491-8970 or

Sky Stephens, forest entomologist for the Colorado State Forest Service, can talk about firewood issues including how to determine if wood is safe to transport from bark beetle-killed trees, what causes a crunching sound in unburned firewood and other firewood insect issues. She can also cover tips on buying wood such as how firewood is measured, which wood types put out the most heat and what kinds of wood consumers should not buy. To speak with Stephens, contact Ryan Lockwood at (970) 491-8970 or

Holiday Plants
Steve Newman, Greenhouse Crops Extension Specialist in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Colorado State, can give advice on caring for and selecting a variety of holiday plants including poinsettias and Christmas cactus. Red, white, pink and novelty varieties of poinsettias are grown by Newman’s fall practicum class. In the class, using a poinsettia crop as a teaching tool, the students learn theoretical aspects of greenhouse crop production including scheduling, disease and insect control, watering and fertilization requirements, and marketing. The plants will be on display at the W. D. Holley Plant Environmental Research Center greenhouse on the CSU campus. From Dec. 5-9 and Dec. 12-16, a poinsettia sale is open to the public 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the greenhouse, 630 W. Lake St. Poinsettias, the No. 1 holiday plant sold in America, constitute a more than a $9 million wholesale industry in Colorado. For care and handling of poinsettias, visit the CSU Extension Fact Sheet at For more information or to speak with Steve Newman, contact Jim Beers at (970) 491-6401 or


Regional Economy and Retail Sales
Martin Shields, economics professor and regional economist, can talk about the impact of the nation’s economic crisis on the regional economy and how that affects holiday spending. Shields is the author of numerous reports on northern Colorado economic indicators including job and salary growth and the economic impact of the region’s bioscience and clean energy sectors. To speak with Shields, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or


Special Diets, Weight Gain, Nutritional Value of Traditional Food
Worried about packing on the pounds during the holiday season? Want to know what food is healthy at that holiday party? Need tips for cooking for guests with special diets? Colorado State nutrition experts can talk about nutritional benefits of traditional holiday fare, eating wisely during the holiday season and tailoring menus for food allergy concerns, diabetes or other issues. To speak with an expert, contact Dell Rae Moellenberg at (970) 491-6009 or


Cold Weather and Holiday Safety for Pets
Health hazards during the holidays and throughout winter can be life-threatening for pets. Colorado State veterinarians can talk about the dangers of cold weather for pets and provide safety tips for people who walk dogs in the winter, how to watch for signs of frostbite or hypothermia in pets, and guidelines for dietary adjustments that some pets may need for optimal health during the winter. During cold weather, pets need extra shelter, and outdoor pets may need to be brought inside. When temperatures dip below 32 degrees, it’s a dangerous time for pets – and even warmer temperatures can be dangerous for your pet if it is wet. Veterinarians also can discuss other wintertime hazards such as antifreeze, holiday decorations and holiday party hazards. To speak with a veterinarian, contact Dell Rae Moellenberg at (970) 491-6009 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