Media tip sheet: Colorado State University Experts on the 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.


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

Relationships at the Holidays
Jennifer Harman, an assistant professor of social psychology, can talk about social psychology research and how our social environments and the holidays can impact relationship functioning, including friendships, long-distance relationship maintenance and dating. She is a co-author of “The Science of Relationships,” a book that uses scientific research to address everyday questions about relationships. To speak with Harman, contact Emily Wilmsen at or (970) 491-2336.

Trees and plants

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. 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 Jennifer Dimas at (970) 491-1543 or

Food choices

Colorado State University food and nutrition experts can talk about cooking for people with allergies or on special diets, healthy food choices and menus for holiday celebrations, preventing food poisoning, holiday weight gain and tips to avoid it, and safe shipping of holiday goodies. 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 Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or

Elderly pet owners
Lori Kogan, a psychologist in Clinical Sciences, can talk about an organization she created called Pets Forever, a non-profit organization supported by CSU that was created to support pet owners. Students and community volunteers visit the homes of elderly pet owners within Fort Collins and Loveland. During these visits, they provide in-home care for the animals such as walking dogs, cleaning litter boxes and bedding, feeding the pets, transporting pets to veterinary appointments or transporting supplies. Volunteers visit clients’ homes as often as several times a week, depending upon individual needs. Students from all across CSU participate and earn undergraduate or graduate college credit for their time. To speak with Kogan, contact Emily Wilmsen at or (970) 491-2336.