Mer School

A Pop Up School on a Sailboat to Co-Create Solutions for the Sea

What is Mer School?

Imagine if you could redesign the education system as we currently know it.

What would you turn it into? What would the curriculum include? Where would the content be delivered? Who would be in your classroom? Who would you want to learn from?


Our current education system was designed for the industrial revolution - with a focus on conforming, and consumption - and if you ask me, it’s outdated, broken and needs an epic re-design so that we can harness our collective and unique human potential -  foster our authenticity, enhance our ability to collaborate and evolve as a human species.

So we, Kate Nelson (AKA Plastic Free Mermaid ) and Sara Rickards (Co-Founder of Fuckgiving), set out to prototype our dream school, with the biggest legends we could find.

We both give a huge shit about sustainability and consumption  - and we want to focus on how we can train up epic change makers, help them find their purpose, empower them to go out into the world and create their own unique ripples of awesomeness.

We don’t have all the answers, we are just ordinary mer-humans trying to figure it out, learning as we go, because shit’s gotta change.

Read more about our Mermaid Viable Product in Sara's words here

How do I get involved?

Welcoming students, sponsors, and businesses with whom we can create a bespoke Mer School experience. 



APPLICATIONS for 2019 Mer School will open shortly. SIGN UP below to be notified when applications open.



Support the development of Mer School, get your plastic pollution problems addressed, be a part of the magic by emailing & with your proposal. 


Send your team away to MER SCHOOL for adventure, bonding, and to solve your company's waste issues. 


Send along product for our guests to try out, sponsor epic filmmaking & photography, help send a mermaid or merman to Mer School through a brand-sponsored scholarship program. 


Be a part of the magic.

Mermaid school has been the happiest week of my life. My cheeks hurt because I haven’t been able to stop smiling and laughing. A week of deep connections made between amazing, lovely change makers in a safe, joyful and nurturing environment in absolute paradise. Forget everything you know about school and watch your spirit soar. Like the Breakfast Club only on a luxury cruise through paradise, except instead of nerds and jocks learning to understand each other, you start to save the world.
— Merman

Who are the facilitators?

Tapping into that sacred whale energy is her specialty.

Tapping into that sacred whale energy is her specialty.


Kate Nelson's golden edge is to integrate fluid mermaid magic in with the environmental movement, reinventing conservation and aiding the collective shift through positive energy and luxury adventure. Kate feels called here in this lifetime to support the awakening of women leaders while helping them achieve even greater outcomes for their purpose, their community, and the planet. 

Kate strives for mass global shift through feminine, fluid empowered PLAY. By releasing into childlike joy through adventure and "mermaiding" she opens hearts and minds to a new way of being. She has taught over 1 million people the skills to let go of the synthetic way of life, products, and relationships to return back to the organic and natural. Having led transformational adventures to exotic locations for women from all over the world and different backgrounds, she is consistent in her results. Creating powerful, lasting change in participants and leaving the visited location better than she found it. The Give Back Program is now over a decade old. Under this program Kate has worked along California legislators on the successful plastic bag ban campaign in California, she has sat on the board of Advisors to the Australian Minister of the Environment, worked on plastic pollution campaigns for GreenPeace, San Diego Coastkeeper, Surfrider Foundation, and founded the non-profit organisation Save the Mermaids in 2009. 




Sara AKA the Sustainability Ninja, Fuckgiver and Purpose Hacker, is both a Biomedical Scientist & Environmental Engineer. However, you won’t find her in a lab or at a desk working on a spreadsheet - you will only find her out in the wild co-designing epic experiences and solutions to increase the wellbeing of people and the planet.

This cheeky potty mouth has disrupted the higher education system, construction industry and now she has her eyes set on the economy (she's a full-time bad-ass creating change wherever her part-time mermaid adventures take her ).

Sara is a peer reviewed author in transformative education, sustainability, system change and eco-footprinting. She has worked with everyone from The Government to Google, to the purpose driven start-up that you haven’t heard of yet, but is probably about to disrupt the shit out of an entire industry.

In a previous life she was the Education For Sustainability Manager at Macquarie University, TEDx speaker, Co-host for the Un-School of Disruptive Design, Program Manager for The Centre of Sustainability Leadership and Associate Editor of the International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education.

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How are you supposed to put into words an experience that feels like it has changed your DNA? That has lit the biggest mother fucking flame in your guts that you feel like bursting? Barefoot hikes, beach runs, washing each others hair, food infused with love, climbing trees, skinny-dipping, learning about giving a fuck, twerking , cuddle puddles , deep DEEP SCARY TERRIFYING honesty, SO MUCH LAUGHTER, SoOOoOOo many tears, singing and dancing and making music, poo chats, yoges, SWIMMING WITH FUCKING WHALES?!? 
Waking up on the water every day to the sunrise and going to bed after watching the sunset with a full belly, a sore face from laughing and a heart overflowing with deep, authentic, honest, raw, overwhelming love.

I feel more myself than I’ve ever felt.
How the fuck is this real life?!
How. The fuck. Was that real? I’ve asked myself this about 500 times since getting home.
…It couldn’t have been more perfect.
The words that keeps coming back when I try to think of the experience as a whole is “deep connection”- to others (soul sisters, soul brothers, soul mates), to the ocean, to Mother Nature, to my inner flame, to my heart, to food, to music, to the planet, and to the creatures that wander on it and swim within it.
I truly hope everyone has at least one experience in their life similar to what we experienced. We all deserve to feel what life is really meant to be like.

“What is the next step to bring ourselves closer to our highest and best selves”.

-MERMAID from 2018 trip