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VIDEO: Paddler sets 2,000-mile course to promote clean waterways

Solo paddler Margo Pellegrino is taking her outrigger canoe on the first leg of a 2,000-mile journey through waterways connecting New York and New Orleans.

Solo paddler Margo Pellegrino is taking her outrigger canoe on the first leg of a 2,000-mile journey through waterways connecting New York and New Orleans as part of her ongoing effort to keep waterways and oceans healthy.

The wife and mother of two is heading to Chicago — blogging, tweeting, FaceBooking and Instagramming the entire way (often with the handle 1slowpaddler) — as she does outreach to help people understand the holistic nature of the world’s connected waterways.

She’s also focusing on issues that affect all boaters, such as last year’s toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie and the issue of plastics and other contaminants in waterways, she told the American Canoe Association.

“Part of the value is that our waterways and ocean are amazing playgrounds, no matter your fitness level or what you paddle,” Pellegrino told the association. “I think that when people value a resource, they are more naturally inclined to protect it. Part of the problem (and why I’m doing what I’m doing) is that folks don’t know how degraded our waterways are; they don’t even recognize that the problems are out there to begin with.”

Since 2007 Pellegrino has paddled the coasts of the United States in partnership with environmental nonprofits to highlight the problems challenging the oceans, highlighting that ocean resources are an important economic driver for the U.S. and global, economy.

CBS 6 in Glenville, N.Y. (near Schenectady) caught up with Pellegrino in Glenville near Schenectady, in late May, using some of her GoPro footage to capture her trip. On Thursday she was traveling through western New York — maybe not such a slow paddler after all.

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