Guardian of the Springs

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Guardian of the Springs

By Michelle Colson also known as Mermaid Michi,
Mermaid Entertainer, Water Advocate, and nature fanatic

“The Trees are our lungs. The rivers are our circulation. The air is our breath. The Earth is our body. “ Deepak Chopra.

This quote is engraved in my soul.

Mermaid Michi in her element: Florida Springs

I am a nature lover and feel most at peace when I am in nature. I am a hydrophile and have been from a very young age. Water has always been a part of my life and where I feel most alive. I began swimming when I was around one and based on the home videos we have, I loved it.

In Mexico, where I am originally from, I lived in a town called Ixtapa. It is a hilly tropical coastline with beautiful sandy beaches. This is where my love for water really flourished. After school, me and my siblings would go to the beach to swim, enjoy the sunset and search for seashells. For as long as I can remember, water has been a constant form of self care and alignment for me. From an early age, I became fascinated with the ocean and the creatures living in it. We lived less than 5 min from the beach, so my family and I were always doing things at the beach. We were involved in conservation from an early age and participated in clean ups. We helped a local conservation group with raising awareness about turtles and got to be a part of many baby turtle hatchings. My parents raised me in nature and all my experiences as a child made me love animals and the planet. This continued into my teenage years so in high school, the electives I choose where environmental and animal-based courses.

Michi picks up litter at the springs

My love for the planet continued to grow and in college I completed a great deal of coursework in the sciences such as Intro to Environmental Science, Marine Biology, Earth Science, Intro Anthropology, Veterinary Medical Terminology, Intro to Veterinary Technology, and General Zoology. Taking these classes really lit the fire inside of me to immerse myself more deeply in our environment, its natural resources and sustainability. Thanks to my studies, I realized that if I wanted to change the world and make an impact in it, the change needed to start with me, so I became an Environmental Advocate.

During my college years, one of my best friends knew the love I had for all things ocean-related. He knew about my fascination with mermaids, so he got me my very first mermaid tail. My dream of being a mermaid became true and since then, I haven’t stopped being my true self, a mermaid.

During my search for mermaid inspiration, I stumbled across a picture of a mermaid I followed on social media. She was swimming in this enchanting crystal-clear water. All I could think about was visiting this magical place so when I found out it was right here in Florida, I made it my mission to go. This place is called Rainbow Springs State Park. I went with my friends. When we arrived, we saw a sign talking about the springs, how they are in danger, and showing ways we could do to help save them. It intrigued me but my friends grew anxious and wanted to get in the water and so did I, so after I finished reading the sign, I ran over to the head spring where they were already waiting for me ready to jump in. We swam, explored, and had an amazing time. I didn’t want to leave. It was this day that made me become a springs advocate and since then, my springs advocacy journey has blossomed!

Michi stands alongside Ryan Smart of the Florida Springs Council in advocacy for full Florida Forever funding.

Being a mermaid to me is magical and I know I can help raise awareness about our springs with this magic! I am a mermaid on a mission and as The Guardian of The Springs, it is my soul mission to save the springs! The preservation, restoration, and conservation of the springs and the Florida aquifer are extremely important to me. I am willing and able to go above and beyond in this fight to preserve, restore, and conserve the Florida Springs and aquifer by sharing my knowledge, organizing educational events, and helping in all outreach efforts.

I am involved with many Spring Conservation Groups, joining forces to help save these majestic wonders of the world. I am on the Communications Advisory Board for the Florida Springs Council. I volunteer for the Florida Springs Institute, Our Santa Fe River, and Free the Ocklawaha, and I have helped organize and be apart of many Spring Awareness Events. I have helped organized protests against policies, people, and companies who are exploiting our springs. I have attended several government meetings to voice my option and show my support for the protection of our springs.

My conservation story is simple, nature has always been my escape! A place where I feel inspired, healed and aligned. The springs are where I feel most alive and as Guardian of the Springs, this mermaid will stop at nothing to help raise awareness, conserve, and restore our springs. These freshwater springs and our aquifer sustain life on this planet, and I will always fight to save them and protect them!

Michi swims in beautiful spring waters. Photo by Charlie K.

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