In honour of Water Week BC this month, Bonne Belle Photography is launching its environmental awareness campaign: Project Mermaid Okanagan.

Project Mermaid Okanagan’s mission is to attract attention with beautiful art, to some very serious threats our environment and economy face. Many residents and visitors to the Okanagan are unaware of the issues that can affect one of our most important and valued natural resources – our lakes.

“The mermaid is a gentle water guardian, watching over the lakes,” says founder Bonnie Donovan. “She is an ambassador between us and our environment and a reminder of how precious our waters are. Everyone loves her.”

The project consists mostly of a series of one-minute commercials and print ads featuring beautiful portraits of mermaids on Okanagan beaches, to circulate on social media, local magazines and possibly, television spots.

When asked about the fact that mermaids are in the ocean not in fresh water lakes, Donovan laughingly responds with a question. “Do you really believe there are mermaids in the ocean? The mermaid is a fictional character, much like the Ogopogo, and we can put her wherever we want! We have a dolphin statue downtown, and we don’t have dolphins in Okanagan lake, either.”

Project Mermaid is pleased to support the work of the Okanagan Basin Water Board. The portraits draw your attention to the issues such as the invasive mussel species threats to our waters, conservation, and protecting our wetlands. The viewer enjoys the beautiful images, and is taken to links to the Okanagan Basin Water Board’s websites with information on steps they can take to help sustain the beauty and health of our lakes and wetlands.

One goal of the project is to create a coffee table book next year, featuring prominent women of the community, posing as mermaids on our beaches to help raise awareness. Each photograph in this project has an official Project Mermaid Okanagan stamp on it. There will be artistic photographs on canvas at various venues in the Okanagan for visitors to see, with a link to follow for educational information.

Donovan has volunteered her photographic skills for multiple charitable organizations over the years, including Pets and People Visiting Society, Wish Come True Society, Wild Women Wise Women Foundation, 100 Women Who Care, Open for Change, and the Central Okanagan Hospice Association's annual fundraiser: Swinging With the Stars.