Our Mer-Team

 
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Angela Zumwalt, Director of Mermaid Programming

Born and raised in Houston, Angela Zumwalt is a Native Texan and a life-long Mermaid.

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Spending early childhood sailing between Coastal Texas and the Island of Cozumel with her ship-captain father, her life was tied to the sea and it’s legends from the start. Moving to Los Angeles, California in 2004, she held a decade long career in Hospital Pharmacy Administration, before readily leaving the Medical Center to pursue more creative endeavors. Reviving her passion for the water, Angela began performing as a mermaid professionally in 2014. Childhood memories of visiting Aquarena Springs with her mother and grandmother turned her eyes and heart back to the San Marcos River as soon as she relocated home to Texas. Quickly hearing about Mermaid Society SMTX and finding that their Mission resonated deeply with her, Angela reached out to founder July Moreno, and soon after became Mermaid Society SMTX’s Official Mascot - Mermaid Maya.

Proud to be a part of Mermaid Society since July of 2016, Zumwalt is elated to now act as Director of Mermaid Programming, as well as to continue to portray Mermaid Maya. Angela says, “When I first learned about Mermaid Society I was thrilled to have found a local organization that shared so precisely my personal and professional values; I quickly reached out to get involved. In my work as a mermaid, I have always endeavored to educate children on awareness of the impact of humans on all aquatic environments. Portraying Mermaid Maya for Mermaid Society, I feel incredibly honored to be a part of something that is fostering connection in the local community, regularly endeavoring to support local artists and businesses, as well as working to preserve the incredible beauty and rich life of the San Marcos River and Springs. Having the opportunity to teach children to revere the river and feel a sense of stewardship and duty to preserve it along with the life thriving in it is profoundly rewarding.”

Angela moved to the San Marcos Area when she returned to Texas in 2016. She is a performing mermaid who, with her husband and Mer-Wrangler, Scott, owns local mermaid performance company, Full Fathom Five: Mermaids & More. With an educational background in Cultural Anthropology and Art History, myths and legends of the world and its waterways have always fascinated her: She delights in being able to fuse these interests in bringing mermaids and other characters to life with content that is both fun and educational.

When Angela isn’t flipping her fins in the river, her non-waterlogged interests include ethnobotany, ancient civilization, crafting, and baking.

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Alissa Shilander-Hardin, Development Associate

"I grew up in Georgetown, Texas. While growing up I sang and performed at The Palace Theater and many local events. I got to San Marcos as soon as I could, and graduated from Texas State University, with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication- Public Relations, and a minor in Theatre.

In the last 11 years I worked in Sales for Fortune 500 Companies, Higher Education, and Marketing/Event Management. I am now following my dreams and passion by helping others as a Life Coach and promoting creative collaboration in our community through Mermaid Society!

The Arts have always been a part of my soul since I can remember. I remember visiting the magical Aquarena Springs when it was an amusement park as a child. The Mermaid Art Ball was so beautiful to me that I knew I had to have my wedding reception where it is held at The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment. I had the privilege to meet and work with July on the mermaid events from the sponsorship side since 2017. Once I decided to be an entrepreneur I reached out to July for advice. I received wonderful advice, and so much more with being presented this amazing opportunity to be part of the Mer-Team!

One of the main reasons I and many others are drawn to San Marcos is the beautiful river. After the first year of being a part of the Mermaid SPLASH events, I realized that Mermaid Society is a played a big part in helping bring the entire community together to celebrate the beauty of all San Marcos encompasses.

I am very proud to be a part of something so wonderful for the community and meaningful to me." - Alissa Shilander-Hardin.

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Melody Rose Baker Cuny - Youth Programs Chair

"As Youth Programs Committee Chair, I aim to engage and inspire the young citizens of San Marcos to protect the environmentally and culturally diverse and sensitive landscapes of the Texas Hill Country through fun science based educational opportunities focused on stewardship and conservation, through the lens of fantasy play." - Melody Rose Baker Cuny

Melody Cuny first came to San Marcos in the summer of 2001 to attend SWT. That summer, she fell in love with San Marcos and its beautiful river and spent every minute she could in and around the cool blue water. In 2010, she became a glass-bottom boat driver at Spring Lake which expanded her knowledge and love of the precious and delicate nature of the San Marcos Springs, River, and watershed. During her time in San Marcos over the last several years, Melody has tried to deepen her knowledge of and service to the river and community around it.

Melody decided to stick around San Marcos and has received two degrees from Texas State University: a Bachelors of Liberal Arts in English & History, and a Masters of Agriculture Education with a focus on Horticulture and Outdoor STEAM Education. During her time at Texas State, she served on the Environmental Services Committee to grant funding to eco-friendly projects and improvements on campus. She also served as an appointed member of the San Marcos Beautification Commission. Melody is a Texas Master Naturalist and a Certified Interpretive Guide through the National Association for Interpretation. She has worked at Westcave Preserve as an interpretive guide and helped to steer the Education Committee at the Riverside Nature Center in Kerrville. As the former Director of Education and Outreach for Heirloom Blooms Academy, Melody worked to co-create outdoor garden and nature-based workshops, spring break and summer camps, plan service-learning volunteer events, coordinate volunteer crews, track and analyze program metrics, plant gardens, and harvest produce for the Farmers Market.

In 2016, she married the love of her life on the shores of beautiful Spring Lake, their rings blessed in the sacred water. Melody and her husband, Kittrick, recently purchased their first home in San Marcos and welcomed their first child into their family. She currently works as an administrative contract specialist for a disaster relief services company in Wimberley.