Some activists rely on their keyboards to spread their message; Margo Pellegrino picks up a paddle.
Life changed for this lifelong water lover when she read David Helvarg’s “50 Ways to Save the Ocean.” After reading about man’s plight on our oceans, Margo decided to go beyond turning off the lights: she organized paddle trips along coastal towns to raise national awareness of the major threats facing our oceans: acidification, plastic pollution, overfishing, and runoff pollution.
Since 2007, she logged nearly 5,600 miles in her 21-foot outrigger canoe, paddling from Miami, FL to Camden, ME; Long Beach Island, NJ to Washington, DC; Fort Pierce to New Orleans, LA; Seattle, WA to San Diego, CA; and Cape May, NJ to Montauk, NY. She also rode a stand up paddleboard 60 miles along the Jersey coast.
To get from one ocean rally to the other, Margo covered an average of 40 miles a day. Sometimes she’d row solo, other times advocates from around the country joined her, fishing boat companies, journeyed alongside two sharks in Newport, and even came face to face with Bush Sr. at the Kennebunkport Inlet.
During high winds and choppy seas, Margo had to beacons guiding her- her son and daughter. Every TV interview, rally on Capitol Hill, piece of trash picked up from a beach, and mile paddled is to ensure they’ll be able to enjoy our oceans with their kids.
Even when she is back on land, she’s still dreaming of the water. Her time is split between her kids, writing, planning future paddle trips, and volunteering with Surfrider Foundation South Jersey Chapter, Clean Ocean Action, and doing outreach for the Blue Vision Summit hosted by the Blue Frontier Campaign.
In 2013, she plans to highlight the water scene in NJ “to show the world that NJ has some of the best waterways to paddle around, that the Jersey Shore is open for business, and that a ton of fun can be had on the water.” After that, she has her paddle set on a Heartland Paddle since those waterways eventually feed into our oceans. Keep track of Margo’s journeys through her website, Facebook, and Twitter.