The Mermaid, the Otter and the Big Poo

by Lindsey Cole in Bristol, Bristol City, United Kingdom

Total raised £10,552

raised so far

404

supporters

The Mermaid, the Otter and the Big Poo is a film and citizen science project to help end river pollution.

by Lindsey Cole in Bristol, Bristol City, United Kingdom

We're still collecting donations

On the 22nd November 2021 we'd raised £10,401 with 391 supporters in 28 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

New stretch target

Extra funding will help me to design a strong pilot schools programme for 6 schools. I'll be able to procure citizen science kits; connect schools with their local Rivers Trust;  arrange logistics for the students to venture to their local river where we will spot for insects, fish otters, understand the environment and test the water quality. I'll also be able to educate them about the Freshwater app so they be suitably informed in their environment to input their data.

By involving the young people in understanding how to monitor their local river in a fun way, I truly believe they'd be inspired to look after it and will want to join our River Angels army to help end river pollution. 




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In September 2021, I went on a quest and mermaided  50 miles of the Bristol Avon, to investigate what's going on in our rivers AND to see if I could find any otters, whilst towing a big POO! 

Otters? Poo? 

Yes, otters AND poo! There's currently A LOT of poo in our rivers, all over the country. Otters are an indicator of a healthy river. River pollution kills off insects, which kills fish, and then there's no food for the otters and they'll say: "I'm otter here!" and head somewhere else for fish. 1635077470_439f7081-3994-4f89-9bf2-6b601250dce6.jpeg

 Along the mermaid swim quest, I met some inspiring people ...

who told me what's going on in our rivers and what we can all do about it.

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The Environment Agency's budget has been slashed by 75% in the last decade. 

This  means there's less boots on the ground to prosecute naughty polluters, so they know they can get away with continuing to pollute. River health has also been declining in the last ten years. Funny that!

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I got very sick one day. Like very Bleeeeurgh type sick.  We have a choice to use the river or not. However it's actually the fish, otters and wildlife's home! They have no choice but to swim in all our POOP- If they're lucky enough to be alive after swimming in it all that is. River pollution kills off a lot of the river ecosystem! And as Michelle from The Rivers Trust said: "If we make rivers no go zones then no one will care when the otters and wildlife disappear."

But there's good news river fans- it's not too late. We CAN still save our rivers! Hurraaaah!

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Yes, River Angels basically do exist. And anyone can be one. Even you can! And that's where our film comes in.

How can The Mermaid, the Otter and the Big Poo help end river pollution? 

Our fun film (17 mins), is shot cinematically (I'll tell you about Charlotte in a sec) and captures the inspiring beauty of the river (and of course the eeky poop). We hear about the problem of river pollution but also that there is hope to save it if we act now. We discover how easy citizen science is to do and how fun it can be too. 

I'll take the film to schools and festivals, share my story of being a mermaid, teach people how they can do citizen science and connect them with their local Rivers Trust so we can then have a wonderful big fat army to end river pollution.

The data collected using Freshwater kits can be compared with data collected in Zambia, China, Argentina and all over the world. So you will not only be helping your local river, you'll be part of GLOBAL CITIZEN SCIENCE. Isn't that so cool?!

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Charlotte the wonderful filmmaker

I only met Charlotte last month and we've already been through a lot together. She's rubbed my back whilst I threw up a whole load of river poo, she's fed me sweets of her paddle in torrential rain and we've been shouted at by some unfriendly landowners. Charlotte is a great human who I have a whole l'otter love for. Here's what she has to say about being involved with The Mermaid, the Otter and the Big Poo. 

"Hey friends, I'm Charlotte, Filmmaker and waterlover. I swim and kayak in Conham river park in Bristol where I live. I care about its ecosystem, for myself and the wildlife to enjoy and flourish. I love seeing families enjoy this stretch of river year round and am so happy to be part of a project that can make a difference. I have filmed around the world telling human stories with love and creativity from Iraq to Taiwan, and it's lovely to make a difference through film in my own back yard."

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Has Lindsey mermaided a river with some sort of animal before?

Yes I have. In 2018, after cutting my hand on a piece of plastic whilst freediving, a dead sperm whale washed up further down the shore in Bali, with 6kg of plastic found in its belly. It was a pretty sad situation. Free divers wear monofins, which are like a mermaid tail, so I swam the length of the River Thames as a mermaid to highlight how we're choking our creatures and waterways with plastic. Along the way I rescued a drowning cow (true story) and ended up on page 3 of The Sun (yes, I knowl!) A school got in touch and said my tail had all the ingredients of a great kids story and asked my permission to turn it into their school play. I went along. It was adorable. So, I turned my story into a kids book- The Mermaid and the Cow. 1634902784_linds_thames_book.jpg

Then I discovered how much kids LOVE mermaids. They really do. And being a mermaid has been a great tool to talk to kids about important topics in a fun, engaging way. So, The Mermaid, The Otter and the Big Poo, will also become a children's book, which fingers crossed some nice children's book publishing mermaid eco fan might like to publish!!!- If you know of any or literary agents please send them my way :)

The Mermaid, the Otter and the Big Poo will be part of a series of environment mermaid swims, films and children's books. Next summer, I plan to mermaid in Arctic Norway from where a glacier front used to be, to where it's now receded to, for.......The Mermaid and the Polar Bear, looking at how climate change has affected polar bears homes. Please do follow along if you're interested at www.lindseycole.co.uk or @stompycole. 

But, this is all about The Mermaid, the Otter and the Big Poo!

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I have normally made films on my phone. But the only people who get to see them are the odd few who follow me on social media and my mum (who'll watch it 1000 times). River pollution is a serious topic so I wanted to make a fun film but take it seriously. To make a good quality film, that will be presentable, engaging and inspiring, there's quite a lot involved.  Camera equipment (especially underwater ones) are pricey and I wanted to pay everyone so we could do a good job. Below are where the costs will be spent. 

  • Camera operators for 11 days
  • Underwater camera operators- 2days
  • Equipment hire and insurance
  • Editor- 12 days
  • Colourist and sound engineer 2 days
  • Music license 
  • Marketing and distribution
  • Sculpture  
  • Citizen science testing kits
  • Crowdfund fees (they take 10%) and reward deliveries

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I sure can. Please see the range of rewards below and then find them in more detail on the left hand side of the page. You could perhaps pick up a Christmas present for someone :) I'm so otterly grateful for your support. Thank you so much. 

  • Handwritten thank you card
  • Invite to our virtual screen party
  • Get your name in the credits
  • Get 2 names in the credits, so someone doesn't get left out
  • Children's book writing workshop
  • Crowdfunding workshop
  • Filmmaking workshop
  • Weleda skincare package that I rely on when I go on multi day swim adventures
  • Finisterre knitwear
  • Predator Zoggs goggles
  • Swim, otter spot and camping with me
  • Associate producer credit
  • A school visit from me
  • Executive producer credit

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We think this film and project needs to happen because of the current dire situation of pollution in our waterways and we believe it will inspire more people to help end river pollution. We need all the voices we can get right now.

Thank you so much for supporting The Mermaid, the Otter and the Big Poo in any way you can. 

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Rewards

This project offered rewards

£20 or more

Eco Stardust Virtual Launch Party

Throw on your eco stardust. Get your glad rags on. Or come dressed as something aquatic. We're having a virtual screening party and YOU'RE coming!! Yay! Don't we all need a good party?! I do! We'll screen the film, have fun and you'll get the chance to ask Lindsey and Charlotte any questions about The Mermaid, the Otter and the Big Poo project. Included: Eco Glitter Dust sample, and a hand written thank you card. Party duration: 60 to 90 mins

£4 or more

This round is on me

Buy us a virtual pint. I'll get the next round when I see you next.

£5 or more

A whole l'otter love

We're sending you a whole l'otter love and gratitude for supporting us. Thank you so much.

£12 or more

The Mermaid, the Otter and the Big Poo film

Thank you so much for supporting our project. You'll receive a link to watch The Mermaid, the Otter and the Big Poo.

£15 or more

You're otterly mermazing

Thank you so much for your support. You will receive a handwritten 'You're otterly mermazing' thank you card; AND a link to the film.

£20 or more

Aint no party like a Mermaid,Otter & Big Poo party

Get your glad rags on. Or come dressed as something aquatic. We're having a virtual screening party and YOU'RE coming!! Yay! Don't we all need a good party?! We'll screen the film, have fun and you'll get the chance to ask Lindsey and Charlotte any questions about The Mermaid, the Otter and the Big Poo project. Also included: a hand written thank you card. Party duration: 60 to 90 minutes

£25 or more

Can I have your Ottergraph please?

See your name on screen at the end of the credits and know that when your name pops up under the 'Special Thanks' section that you were a great part in making the project happen. Also included: a link to the virtual screen party and a handwritten thank you card.

£30 or more

The Mermaid and the Cow

As well as getting an invite to our virtual screen party, your name in the credits and a handwritten thank you card, you'll also receive a copy of The Mermaid and the Cow children's book, based on the true story of when Lindsey rescued a drowning cow whilst swimming the River Thames as a mermaid for a plastic awareness campaign.

£30 or more

I otter get a second name in the credits, please

Would your parter or little one get jealous if your name's in the credits and their's isn't? Fear not, they can enjoy watching their name pop up in the 'Special Thanks' bit at the end of the film too. Also included: link to the virtual launch party, and a handwritten thank you card.

£30 or more

You're otterly mermazing gift cards (set of 4)

You're otterly mermazing for supporting The Mermaid, the Otter and the Big Poo. Why not send some otterly mermazing gift cards to people who you think are pretty great. Also included: name in the credits, handwritten thank you card, link to virtual screen party.

£35 or more

Children's book writing workshop

Have you or someone you know always wanted to write a children's book? Join me in a virtual workshop as I share everything I've learned over the last couple of years. We'll talk characters, plots, to rhyme or not rhyme and the structure to fit a 32 page classic children's picture book. Also included: Virtual screen party link, name in credits and handwritten thank you card. Duration: 90 minutes.

£35 or more

Crowdfunding workshop

Have you got a project you've always wanted to do, but been held back due to lack of funds. Get SHOUTING about it to everyone in this workshop, build your confidence and let's get you inspired to crowdfund that dream project of yours. I'll share everything I've learned in 2 crowdfund campaigns and give you the kick up the bottom to give it a go. Also included: name in credits, link to virtual party and handwritten thank you card.

£40 or more

Filmmaking workshop

Join Charlotte for a virtual filmmaking workshop where she'll share her experience filming in Iraq and all over the world, the ups and downs of 'run and gun' documentary shooting a mermaid and a giant poo and she can answer any questions you may have about your own personal film project. (Workshop class size: up to 12. Dur: 60 minutes). Also included: ticket to our virtual screen party; name in credits AND a handwritten thank you card

£47 or more

Bamboo Enduro Leggings

Bamboo Clothing's supportive Enduro fabric keeps you feeling and looking fantastic whatever the workout – meet the best performing sportswear in your wardrobe, which includes some brilliantly colourful prints. Normally RRP at £55. Reward also includes a link to watch The Mermaid, the Otter and the Big Poo

£65 or more

School Storytelling workshop

Do you have a favourite teacher that deserves a timeout and some peace and quiet for a class period? Zoom me into their class room and I'll get their class to write their very own eco warrior stories, whilst the teacher can have a nice cup of a tea and some subtle Zzzs. Also included: a copy of The Mermaid and the Cow for the class. Duration: a class period.

£75 or more

Beam me up, mermaid

Nominate your favourite school and I'll virtually 'zoom' into their class room, show them The Mermaid, the Otter and the Big Poo, and tell them all about being a mermaid and how they can help their local river. Duration: 60 minutes. Also included: a link to the virtual screen party, and a hand written thank you card.

£110 or more

Lake 32 Dry Robe

Treat yourself or a loved one to a Lake 32 branded Dryrobe. Also included: link to The Mermaid, the Otter and the Big Poo, and your name in the credits

£150 or more

Come swim with me, come swim, come swim away

Join me for a swim along the Bristol Avon, where I'll teach you citizen science, how to track an otter, then we'll warm up over a campfire and cooked meal, fall asleep under the stars and wake up with a fresh dip, brew and breakfast. Also included: link to virtual screen party, name in the credits and hand written thank you card. Travel to Bristol Avon area not included.

£150 or more

Lake 32 annual memberships

Annual membership to Lake 32. Also included: a link to The Mermaid, the Otter and the Big Poo film and your name in the credits.

£250 or more

Associate producer

Get your name in big lights and on the screen. Enjoy watching the credits (which we'll make otterly enjoyable) and know when your name pops up you've helped make this project happen. Also included: link to the virtual screen party and a hand written thank you card.

£350 or more

There's a mermaid in our school

Nominate your favourite school and I'll pop on my tail, swoosh through the sewage network and personally present The Mermaid, the Otter and the Big Poo. I'll also teach them about citizen science and how they can look after their local river, yay! (Travel not included, but I don't swish through first class sewers so I'll be sure to keep the fare down!)

£500 or more

Executive director

See you name on the big screen. Enjoy those credit (we've made sure everyone will stay for the credits) and know that when your name pops up at the end you were a big part of making this project happen. Also included: Virtual screen party and handwritten thank you card.

£750 or more

There's a mermaid in my office

Have a word with HR and I'll come to your office to present The Mermaid, the Otter and the Big Poo. I'll tell you all about the ups and downs of the journey, how I managed to soldier on with a dash of resilience after yakking my guts up; the team work of my support canoe crew; and how we're motivating schools and work places to get involved with citizen science and help end river pollution.

£1,000 or more

Hey boss, we're in a mermaid film

If your company believes in the cause of cleaning up our waterways then please pledge for this reward. Your company logo will go at the end of the credits and I'll come to your office, screen the film and tell you all about mermaiding the Avon with a big poo, whilst on the hunt for an elusive otter.

£25 or more

Lake 32 Wooly Hat and film

Stay warm this winter with a Lake 32 branded wooly hat that's also helped to fund a citizen science schools programme. Also included: link to The Mermaid, the Otter and the Big Poo film.

£32 or more

Bristol Beer Factory- Gluten free- vegan (12 cans)

Each of BBF cans gets properly verified as gluten-free. Thanks to an enzyme used in the brewing process, there is less than 20ppm gluten in the beer - a tiny amount! They use vegan-friendly Super-F finings during filtration, so except for a couple of beers containing lactose (not included here) we can safely say their beer is vegan as well as GF. Package includes: 12 x 440ml cans (all vegan and gluten). Also includes link to film

£35 or more

Predator Otter Zoggs Goggles

I've struggled with so many goggle, but love Zoggs Predatory goggles. I used them to swim the Avon with my poo, the length of the Thames and all the events in between. Also included: name in credits, virtual screen party link, handwritten thank you card.

£35 or more

Otter Seachange wine pack- Red, White and Prosecco

Seachange combine their love of great wine with a desire to do something to help protect our oceans. Donations are made to marine charities from every bottle sold. They also have otter illustrations on their bottles, so I thought they were a great fit. You will receive a bottle of Prosecco and an organic red and white. Also includes: link to our screen party, name in credits and a handwritten thank you card.

£35 or more

Otter Spotting with Chris Hammond

Come otter spotting with Chris Hammond in the wilds of Clevedon, Somerset. Chris will teach you how to track, spot for spraint and otters' holts. Experience lasts for 3 hours. Must be 16 or older.

£35 or more

Otter Spotting with Chris Hammond

Come otter spotting with Chris Hammond in the wilds of Clevedon, Somerset. Chris will teach you how to track, spot for spraint and otters' holts. Experience lasts for 3 hours. Must be 16 or older.

£50 or more

Doggy Dryrobe

Look after your pooch this winter and wrap them up in a Dryrobe waterproof dog coat. Pippa's is the trendiest dog on the block in hers. At the end of the campaign I'll contact you for size and colour of design. Also include: link to virtual screen party, name in the credits and a handwritten thank you card.

£50 or more

Organic Towel dryrobe

Made from 100% organic cotton, Dryrobe's unique short length sleeve design allows you to use both hands to free yourself from the clutches of the super-stretch wetsuit, or get your kit off and back on without over-exposing yourself. You will be contacted by Dryrobe for size and colour choice. Also included: name in the credits, thank you card AND invite to our virtual screen launch.

£55 or more

Weleda Mermazing Skin Food package

Treat yourself to these Weleda goodies that save my skin after swimming outside. They also smell sooo nice. *Weleda Skin Food Body Butter 150ml, *Skin Food Original 75ml, *Skin Food Lip Balm 8ml, *Arnica Cooling Gel and *Arnica Muscle Soak Bath Milk 200ml. This package retails at £69, but you get it all for £55 PLUS our party invite, name in the credits AND a handwritten thank you card.

£65 or more

Handpainted favourite swim moment by Fiona Chivers

Artist, environmentalist and swimmer, Fiona Chivers, kindly got in touch to offer her artistic talents as a reward because she believes in the cause. She has offered to hand paint your favourite swimming moment so you can forever remember and frame it on your wall. They're normally £95 but you can get one for £65, and get your name in the credits and a link to our virtual screen party

£75 or more

Outdoor Swimmer magazine subscription for a year

The Outdoor Swimmer is the most wonderful magazine that represents the entire community. Whether you're training for your first mile, you want to know the best places to venture or you like to understand the environmental, historical or health sides of swimming, there are stories for everyone. Along with a year's worth of brilliant magazines you will also get a link to our launch party, name in the credits and a handwritten thank you card.

£80 or more

Swim Feral Bag

An outdoor swimming bag with an integrated insulated changing mat, designed by swimmers for swimmers, to keep your gear dry and your feet clean and warm in cold conditions. It's made on in the lovely hills of Yorkshire. Normally RRP for £89, but you can get it here, your name in the credits, and a link to our virtual screen party for £75!

£100 or more

I otter get this Finisterre jumper, it's mermazing

After a cold swim, or a blustery winter day, throwing on a knitted Finisterre jumper is the most WONDERFUL thing. If you know, you know. Finisterre have kindly donated 5x pieces of knitwear because they believe in the cause of cleaning up our waterways. Recipients of this reward will be contacted by Finisttere to arrange style, sizing and delivery. Also included: ticket to the launch party, and a hand written thank you card.

£120 or more

Wildmoose Robe

Designed for wild swimmers, paddlers, surfers and all aquatic adventures. The Wildmoose robe is fully waterproof, thick sherpa fleece lining, fleece lined hood and loads of pockets. You will be contacted for size and colour. Also included: a link to our virtual screen party, name in the credits and a hand written thank you card.

£145 or more

Dryrobe Advance Long Sleeve

Designed to let you get changed anywhere, whilst protecting you from the elements, dryrobe® Advance is an essential piece of kit for all outdoor activities. The long sleeve design provides extra warmth and is ideal for those waiting to compete or watching sporting events. They normally retail at £160 but you can get one for £145 aswell as your name in the credits, a handwritten thank you card AND a link to our virtual screen party. Say Whaaat?

£170 or more

Vivo Barefoot Tracker Hi FG Boots

Vivobarefoot's Tracker Hi II FG are my favourite boots to get out into the wild. They're flexible and thin to allow you to feel the ground and hi to keep out the dirt. I LOVE them! I scramble across streams and jump in puddles and my feet remain dry too. They normally RRP at £200, but you can get a brand spanking new pair for £170, plus a link to my virtual screen party, your name in the credits AND a handwritten thank you card.

£340 or more

Sail away in wild Norfolk

Explore the wilderness of the north Norfolk coast on a Coastal Exploration Company skippered traditional wooden fishing boat, under sail, enjoying foraging, wild swims and delicious locally sourced food to recharge your soul. It’s proper adventuring and exploring, in one of the UK’s last great wildernesses. You'll be in great hands, Zoe your skipper is a proper She-Ra who's kindly donated this 4 hour experience for up to 4 people.

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