By Bo Brueck, H.H. Dow High School
It all began four years ago with an 11-year-old waking up at 5:30 a.m. to go fishing with his dad, brother and uncle. It was a beautiful Florida morning and Caden Koenig, a fun loving kid, enthralled with sports, was about to find a new passion.
“I had been reeling in the fish for about a half hour when a pod of dolphins began surfacing, with fish in their mouths,” Koenig said.
The dolphins swam by the boat while Caden reeled in his Amberjack. The experience connected him with the water and the nature there-in instantaneously. From that point on Caden was interested in the world under our world and the exotic animals that dwelled there.
“I think it was really last year that I started to seriously consider marine biology as a career,” Koenig said. “I’ve always grown up with animals and my family probably went to the zoo more than any family in michigan.”
His passion for nature is clearly evident, growing up with pets and the exposure to wildlife that he has had only heightened his fondness for the natural world.
“I’ve taken biology, IB biology and next year I’m taking zoology,” Koenig said.
Already gearing his class schedule for a career in working with wildlife, Koenig plans to take college courses on marine biology and pursue his passion of four years. Koenig’s older brother is now attending Hope College in Holland Michigan and Koenig would also like to go to Hope, but is also interested in Florida schools for their proximity to the water and abundance of wildlife.
“This Fourth of July I visited Florida Gulf Coast, but anywhere coastal woud be awesome,” Koenig said. “Somewhere that is going to have a marine program and access to the water.”
Schools in the Carolinas also offer programs that interest Koenig, with options like Duke and Coastal Carolina that could provide a fun and exciting environment. As opposed to the more close-knit community of a smaller college like Hope. Koenig is definitely a likable guy and could thrive in either situation, but is still unsure on his path of choice.
Throughout his life Koenig has learned that sticking to his roots and being himself is the key to happiness. He plans on taking his this passion, founded in his youth, far into his future. He hopes it will bring him wealth to say the least, but also happiness and a closer bond with the creatures of the deep.
“I think it would awesome to be on Shark Week,” Koenig said, “but if not Shark Week, I would love to run an animal rehabilitation center and sanctuary. I want to help treat and provide better lives for our aquatic treasures.”