New Routt County extension agent named | SteamboatToday.com

New Routt County extension agent named

Libby Christensen has stepped into her new role as family and consumer science extension agent for the Colorado State University’s Routt County Extension Office. She replaces Karen Massey, who retired in the fall. Photo by John F. Russell.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Libby Christensen may have been a bit nervous as she walked through the doors of the Routt County Extension Office in Steamboat Springs on Thursday for her first day of work, but somewhere deep inside she felt like she’d come home.

"I got the opportunity to work with Todd (Hagenbuch) and Karen (Massey) here on a couple of different projects and visited from a professional standpoint," Christensen said. "I was just excited about all the activity and energy going on in Extension. My dad was also an extension agent, so this was a natural fit for me. It's kind of a dream come true in terms of perfect place, perfect job and perfect time."

Christensen was hired to replace Massey, Routt County’s longtime family and consumer science extension agent for the Colorado State University's Routt County Extension Office who retired last fall. In her new role, Christensen will also help lead many of the county’s 4-H programs.

“We are thrilled to have Libby join Routt County Extension,” said Hagenbuch, interim county director and agriculture agent. “Her experience in food systems work, her knowledge of the area and her connections to the CSU campus will greatly benefit Extension and the residents of Routt County.”

Although she is new to the area, Christensen’s husband, Brad, lived here for several years and worked at Backdoor Sports. The couple were married in the Yampa Valley but had been living in California until just a few years ago.

Christensen said her attraction to Colorado and Steamboat is strong. The couple moved to Fort Collins two years ago, and when the Routt County extension agent position opened up, Christensen quickly applied.

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She said her family's connection to what Extension does is a big reason she feels at home in her new position. She said she raised pigs when she was younger and took part in several 4-H camps, but she admits she still has a lot to learn.

"I think I have a huge amount of passion and excitement around this topic area," she said. "I love exploring and trying to answer questions, but I recognize that there are lots of things that I don't know. I'm excited to try to learn those things with people."

Christensen received her undergraduate degree in environmental studies and economics from the University of California Santa Cruz. She then earned a master's degree in community development and a Ph.D in geography from the University of California Davis.

Christensen spent more than a year working with the Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics as a researcher. Her work included evaluating the economic impact of Farm to School on a national scale. She said she is looking forward to working with the Community Agriculture Alliance in Steamboat.

"It's very much in my wheelhouse," Christensen said. "I was on the board of directors for our local food policy council in Sacramento. I'm very excited about continuing that work but also at CSU I taught a class in the nutrition department. It was just an introduction to food systems, and so I'm really excited about the opportunity to work with young people and do cooking classes and nutrition classes and those types of things."

A top priority for Christensen is to get out into the community and meet people.

Christensen believes the Steamboat lifestyle is a perfect fit for her, her husband and their 11-month-old son Clayton.

"We do a fair amount of hiking," she said. "We have two dogs and love walking on Emerald or Howelsen and the whole area."

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.