Who Is Mermaid Echo?


When I have legs most people call me Claire VanValkenburg. I am a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying Journalism and Mass Communication with a certificate in Digital Studies.

I started “mermaiding” as a form of exercise, I would swim with a monofin (a flipper for both feet) as an effective full-body workout. Soon enough I discovered the “mermaid community,” a group of people dedicated to protecting our water systems. I was inspired by their resourcefulness to use the extraordinary and captivating qualities of a mermaid as a means for activism. Also, I was impressed by the effectiveness, what child wouldn’t listen to a mystical creature asking them to use less plastic?

I’ve loved mermaids since I first learned to swim, and I truly believe the essence of a mermaid can inspire confidence in children (especially young women), be the voice for all forms of life under the surface, and prove that you should never stop chasing your dreams.


Is my child safe?


Yes. I am a Lifeguard and a YMCA camp counselor, which means I receive vigorous training each year for water safety education, boating safety education, child abuse and bullying prevention, SBS prevention, stress management education, and more. I have been working with the YMCA for 3 years and I am confident in both my childcare and water safety abilities.

  • Lifeguard certified
  • AED/First Aid certified
  • Boating safety certified
  • Waterfront safety certified
  • Child abuse and SBS prevention
  • Bullying and suicide prevention
  • Stress and anger management prevention


Who helps Mermaid Echo?



Mackenzie is my right hand woman and helps to come up with new ideas, activities, and advertising initiatives.

Mackenzie is going to school for Education at UW-River Falls and has always loved the water, swimming and mermaids!

She is excited to teach kids about how we can keep our water clean and care for our oceans, lakes and rivers!


More questions?

Watch the Q&A below where I answer questions from my YouTube viewers!