Canoeist paddles to Maine from Fla. for conservation


CAMDEN (AP) – A woman who paddled her outrigger canoe from Florida to Maine to promote ocean conservation was met by a flotilla of small boats Friday as she completed her 2-month journey in the harbor of this yachting and tourist mecca.

“This is just the beginning. It’s ain’t over yet,” said Margo Pellegrino, of Medford Lakes, N.J. She said she intends to continue her campaign even though her East Coast journey of nearly 2,000 miles from Miami has ended.

The 40-year-old mother of two set out on her solo coastal venture on May 7 in a 20-foot outrigger canoe that she said was made in China. Following the Intracoastal Waterway and hugging the Atlantic coast, Pellegrino paddled about 40 miles a day and stopped at 74 communities.

Inspired by books she has read on the degradation of the ocean to what she believes is a precarious state, Pellegrino set out to elevate public awareness of such issues as dwindling fish populations, coastal pollution and coastal development. It included some speaking engagements, many interviews with publications – and even one appearance before the congressional Ocean Caucus.

Pellegrino said she decided in December 2005 to attempt the south-to-north trip. To prepare, “I did a lot of training,” said Pellegrino, who has a 5-year-old son 2-year-old daughter. That included running five miles a day and paddling four to seven hours at a time, two or three days a week.

“I said if I could paddle that and then come home and cook dinner for the kids, I must be OK,” she said.

Pellegrino said she saw her children and husband, Carl Pellegrino, two weekends a month. It was during one of her stops along New Jersey’s coast that she made a side trip to Washington to speak to members of Congress. While traveling, Pellegrino was aided by a network of volunteers.

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