The push to keep Florida’s springs flowing clean got a new ally this weekend from an unusual source: Mermaids.

It wasn’t the actual legendary creatures, but rather human members of the worldwide mermaid community, or “mercommunity.” The community is made up of people who are fans of the creatures. Many even don mermaid tails, some intricately made out of silicone, and swim in open water

“It’s insane how big it’s become. It has blossomed like crazy,” said Ariel Brown, who wore a mermaid tail for the first time four years ago.

Brown and a team of mermaid aficionados visited two area springs this weekend to photograph mermaids swimming in the freshwater oases. The photos will be used in a campaign to help raise awareness of the issues facing the more than 1,000 springs in Florida.