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Interview with Nancy Thomason, September 23, 2013

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:00 - Interview Introduction

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Partial Transcript: This is the Georgia Environmental Oral History Project. We are in Brunswick at the College of Coastal Georgia.

00:00:22 - Personal background

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Partial Transcript: And uh you have been on St. Simons for you say thirty seven years. Tell us a little bit before that, where were you and what brought you down to the coast?

Segment Synopsis: Nancy Thomason talks about her unanticipated move from New York to St. Simons, where her father had visited as a member of the Coast Guard.

00:02:04 - Beach renourishment on St. Simons

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Partial Transcript: And, and I woke up in a big time, and the issue was beach renourishment.

Segment Synopsis: Thomason discusses the process, methodology, and impact of beach renourishment. She further talks about her fight with local government to "Save the Beach."

Keywords: Save the Beach; Toll Committee; beach development; coastal development; environmental issues; renourished beaches

00:10:14 - "Save the Beach" coalition and beach renourishment education

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Partial Transcript: Could you talk a little bit about who was in this coalition?

Segment Synopsis: Thomason talks about the volunteer composition of the "Save the Beach" coalition. Further, she discusses the role of the media in the fight for and against beach renourishment on St. Simons.

Keywords: St. Simons; beach renourishment; coastal renourishment; media

00:11:49 - Informal campaigning and advertisements

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Partial Transcript: What did the state DNR think?

Segment Synopsis: Thomason talks about the process of creating ads and generating attention for the issue of beach renourishment. She discusses the campaigns of both her "Save the Beach" coalition and those of the local county-appointed "Beach Management" committee.

Keywords: Beach Management Committee; Coastal Management Committee; Georgia Department of Resources

00:15:27 - Beach renourishment motivation

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Partial Transcript: Why did they want to do it, what was their rationale, that they had so much invested in this?

Segment Synopsis: Thomason talks about the relationship between beach renourishment, tourism, and commerce.

Keywords: Sea Island; beach protection; coastal development; environmental issues

00:21:19 - Marsh hammocks on St. Simons

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Partial Transcript: So the "marsh hammocks," is that an issue that came up after that?

Segment Synopsis: Thomason talks about her role in "Residents United for Planning and Action" and the effect of marsh hammocks in coastal Georgia on land planning, including issues of sewage control.

Keywords: Man Head Marina; Manhead Island; Manhead Sound; RUPA; Residents United for Planning and Action; Savannah; Southern Environmental Law Center; coastal development; coastal marshland; marsh hammocks

00:29:36 - Fundraising and personal investment

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Partial Transcript: All of this must have cost money and an enormous amount of time on your part.

Segment Synopsis: Thomason talks about the process of acquiring pro bono environmental lawyers, as well as her own personal time investment in the cause of beach renourishment.

Keywords: Southern Environmental Law Center; beach renourishment; environmental law; pro bono environmental lawyers

00:31:04 - Right Whale protection in coastal Georgia waters

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Partial Transcript: So you have here the "Right Whale protection," what was that particular issue?

Segment Synopsis: Thomason talks about education on the Right Whale and its conservation within the waters of the Georgia coast. She further discusses her involvement in a community project to build a Right Whale sculpture in Neptune Park.

Keywords: Golden Isles Arts and Humanities; Keith Jennings; Neptune Park; Ocean Society; arts activism; community arts

00:35:17 - Environmental activism and its consequences

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Partial Transcript: How is the business interest in this community?

Segment Synopsis: Thomason speaks on the intersection of politics, local law, and the "pressure put on" those who supported issues of environmental protection, particularly concerning the fight against beach renourishment.

Keywords: coastal Georgia; environmental activism

00:37:55 - Current environmental activism in Georgia

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Partial Transcript: Well let me ask you this, do you feel like the atmosphere has changed over the twenty or thirty years you've been involved?

Segment Synopsis: Thomason talks about the changes implemented by "RUPA" (Residents United for Planning and Action) and other environmental activism on coastal Georgia and issues of environmental protection in the state of Georgia.

Keywords: Georgia environmental issues; RUPA; Residents United for Planning and Action; coastal development; environmental activism; environmental issues; southern environmental issues

00:48:56 - Interview Conclusion

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Partial Transcript: Okay, well, are there any last minute words, thoughts you'd like to share?