Opponents of offshore drilling will hold a Hands Across the Sand demonstration Saturday on South Bartram Avenue in Atlantic City.

Some participants, led by clean water activist and long-distance paddler Margo Pellegrino, will paddle from there to Washington, D.C., for the June 9 March for the Ocean, organizers said.

The Hands Across the Sand event is open to all and starts with a beach cleanup at 11 a.m., followed by the participants joining hands and fanning out across the beach in a protective gesture at noon.

It will be capped by a “paddle out” at 12:20 p.m., when some will leave for D.C., organizers said.

The South Jersey Surfrider Foundation and Clean Ocean Action are organizing the event.

Pellegrino, 51, of Medford Lakes in Burlington County, grew up spending summer vacations in Ocean City. Her dad, the late Don Howard — the son of Bethel United Methodist Church minister William C. Howard — grew up in Somers Point.

She will paddle her one-person outrigger canoe on an 18-day trip to Washington, D.C. She has built in three extra days in case of bad weather and will be paddling about six hours a day, she said.

She isn’t sure how many people will accompany her but said many have expressed an interest in doing the trip with her.

“When I first started planning this I had a lot of interest. Now I’m not sure,” she said.

She said she had a “terrible winter, with more eating than training, and more stress than stress relief,” so she will train as she goes.

She hopes to make it to Ocean City, Md., in time for a surfing contest, and to paddle into D.C. June 8, the day before the March for the Ocean.

The groups have been organizing Hands Across the Sand demonstrations for several years, starting when there were renewed threats of offshore drilling and seismic testing, said Surfrider Foundation of South Jersey Chair Beth Qwark.

Contact: 609-272-7219 MPost@pressofac.com Twitter @MichelleBPost Facebook.com/EnvironmentSouthJersey

Staff Writer

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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