Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
A: Hello! My name is Chris Secary, I am 29, and originally from Colorado. I grew up hunting (elk), fishing, and hiking, and I enjoy everything there is to do in the outdoors. I was in the US Army for 3 years as an artilleryman, then used my GI Bill to get my Bachelors of Environmental Science; I also plan to go back to school and get my masters (once my wife is finished with hers). During my degree, I worked in public safety/health for SALUD Family Health Centers in Colorado. This work was focused on migrant populations, specifically migrant farm workers and their families. That position also granted me the opportunity to do an Environmental Health internship under Dr. Edward Hendrikson, with regard to vector control research, specifically with West Nile and Zika virus. My wife and I moved to Alaska after about 3 years of planning and saving, and both have obtained state jobs. My personal goal is to continue my education and bring it to bare to help the people and the environment of Alaska.
Q: How did you discover the field of environmental health?
A: Put simply, I grew up in the Rocky Mountains and have always had an affinity for nature. That, combined with my scientific interests led me into the field of Environmental Science. While pursuing my degree I got a job in public health, just thinking it would be an “easy” way to work full time and go to school. Through interactions with people and colleagues I really caught the Environmental Health Bug (pun intended). My specific area of interest is environmental health with relation to flora and fauna and how human development and evolution has influenced nature. But really, I am interested to some degree in anything that has to do with environmental health.
Q: What’s something you want to do in the next year that you’ve never done before?
A: My main focus over the next year will be landing my first moose. Growing up in the mountains where I did, we did not have moose, or more accurately had a small population that could not be hunted. I find the process of moose hunting fascinating, and the punishment of the terrain in Alaska to be especially alluring. Other than that, I would love to see a Brown Bear in the wild (we did not have Brown Bear where I grew up either).
Q: Thoughts on bottled water?
A: Bottled water to me is an interesting phenomenon. Is it for convenience? Is it for better health? Is it to “calm down” or “focus”? Who knows. But based on some of the marketing, I wouldn’t be surprised if it makes you a super hero. On a serious level though, I think bottled water is an important tool to utilize during times of disaster or public need. However, I am not a sponsor of using bottled water daily, mostly because of the environmental impact of the bottles themselves.
Q: Favorite foods and/or restaurant?
A: My favorite type of food is Mexican food, real Mexican food. During my time in Colorado, I worked with and enjoyed the company of many people from Mexico, got immersed in their culture, and bulked up on their amazing food. There’s just nothing that compares to good real authentic Mexican food. That being said, I have yet to find any authentic Mexican food in Alaska; well at least anywhere outside of my kitchen. Favorite restaurant ever? I definitely have no way to choose. But I can say my favorite restaurant in Alaska so far is the Cadillac Café in Wasilla. I’ve tried about 6 things off their menu and every one was absolutely amazing. I could also definitely eat spaghetti every day for the rest of my life and be completely happy.
– Responses graciously contributed by Chris Secary of the DEC Drinking Water Program.