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Margo Pelligrino

Margo PelligrinoI’m a stay at home mother who does a pretty lousy job at staying at home. Fortunately I have a very supportive husband, patient kids, and a very saintly and sweet mother to pitch in while I’m away. In 2007, as a tribute to my ocean-loving late father, who always sang to us about the “moon over Miami” and loved to vacation in Maine, and as a gift to my children, so that they might enjoy a healthy ocean when they reach my age, I planned to paddle an outrigger canoe from Miami, FL to Camden, ME and educate as many people as I could about the need to protect and conserve our ocean resources. The East Coast Chapters of Surfrider Foundation provided me hosting and a platform, and National Environmental Trust arranged and collaborated with the Chapters to arrange press events to highlight unsustainable fishing practices. This close to 2000 mile paddle took 11 weeks (with a few bad weather days tossed in) with a week off to visit Congress.

2008 found me once again taking to the water for ocean issues. I partnered with NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) on an advocacy mission for Oceans 21, legislation currently in the House that would put a plan in place to streamline ocean governance. This was a rather short trip from LBI, NJ to Washington, DC at only 500 miles and two weeks.

In 2009 I again partnered with NRDC and also the GRN, Gulf Restoration Network, from the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Fort Pierce, FL (a bit above Miami) to New Orleans. This was a roughly 1200 mile paddle that took about 5 weeks.

The summer of 2010 found me paddling from Seattle to San Diego in a partnership with David Helvarg’s organization, The Blue Frontier Campaign. Now I was, with the exception of paddling in the Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca and entrances of rivers, paddling entirely in the ocean, for the ocean. It was about 1600 miles and took three months-the coldest summer of my life. Between weather, conditions, boat repair and scheduled press events, there were plenty of hold ups!

Margo Pelligrino For Summer 2011 I’m planning a personal challenge. I’m currently training for a New Jersey all-in-one coastal paddle the length of the Jersey Shore (127 miles) on a Starboard SUP. I’m planning to use this paddle as a fundraiser for the Emerald Coast Chapter of Surfrider Foundation as well as the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s neuroblastoma research headed up by Dr. Maris. Currently the Emerald Coast Chapter of Surfrider Foundation is conducting water tests in the Gulf because so many people are presenting odd symptoms after having swum there. I first heard about neuroblastoma when my good friend and running buddy’s little son was diagnosed with stage IV two days before Christmas of 2009. He is currently being treated at CHOP, and we watch and wait, watch and wait, for him to get better.

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