Interview with Jean Poleszak, September 23, 2013

Collection: Georgia Environmental Oral History Project

Dublin Core


Jean Poleszak interviewed by Betsy Bean. Jean Poleszak discusses how she and her husband first became acquainted with Jekyll Island after stopping over on their drive down to vacation in Florida from their home in Kenmore, N.Y. After moving full time to Jekyll, Poleszak became a nature guide for the state park service. She discusses her first involvement with political and environmental issues on the island when there were plans to build a new golf course on the island that led to bulldozing a large swath of land. She discusses become involved with the Initiative to Save Jekyll Island and demonstrating at the state capitol when Zell Miller was governor.
Poleszak provides a Jekyll Island resident's perspective on many of the issues facing the island. She talks about the 65/35 clause of the law that mandates that the developed portion of Jekyll Island cannot exceed 35% of the land, and she discusses the controversy surrounding this issue. Poleszak talks about Jekyll Island issues such as building the water park, golf courses on the island, and the evolution towards Jekyll becoming more of a resort island. She discusses the migration of many Northerners to Jekyll Island and how this affects the demographics of the island, and she also talks about the different types of tourists who visit Jekyll. Poleszak expresses her frustration at those who consider Jekyll Island to be "Melvin Thompson's Folly" and talks about her belief that Georgia should continue to protect the unspoiled salt marsh and the sea islands.





Oral History Item Type Metadata


41 minutes


Jean Poleszak and Betsy Bean, “Interview with Jean Poleszak, September 23, 2013,” UGA Special Collections Libraries Oral Histories, accessed July 14, 2024,