Interview with Lydia Thompson, September 23, 2013

Collection: Georgia Environmental Oral History Project

Dublin Core


Lydia Thompson is a naturalist and artist. She was born in Natchez, MS, and moved to the Georgia coast in 1985. Thompson currently lives on St. Simons Island is a columnist for the Jekyll Golden Islander. Thompson's primary focus is on the preservation and conservation of bird habitats, and she has been very involved with education and outreach programs such as Operation Plover Patrol and the Jekyll Island Environmental Education committee. She was a consultant for the development for the Conservation Plan for Jekyll Island and has been involved with various conservation and environmental organizations and initiatives such as the Audobon Society, Georgia's Colonial Coast Birding and Nature Festival, and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Colonial Coastal Birding Trail.
In this interview, Lydia Thompson discusses her early life in Natchez, Miss., and her father's influence on her dedication to birds and the environment. Thompson discusses Operation Plover Patrol, which she founded to educate and raise awareness for Wilson's Plovers. She discusses various studies and tracking programs that she has been involved with, including, the College of William & Mary's whimbrel tracking, and banding birds.
Thompson discusses the filming of the major motion picture Glory on Jekyll Island in 1988 and the environmental implications of that process. She discusses the monetizing of conservation movements and the public's reception to her education and outreach efforts. Thompson talks about cleaning up the Andrew's Island Causeway with the Audobon Society, the dwindling bird populations on the south end of Jekyll Island, how dogs on the beach affect migratory birds, and the importance of empathetic communication in environmental outreach. Thompson also discusses the conservation plan for Jekyll and the implications of the 65/35 clause. She talks about getting the Georgia coast recognized as a birdwatching destination in the late 1990s and efforts to make the beach more accessible to those with disabilities.





Oral History Item Type Metadata


52 minutes


Lydia Thompson and Betsy Bean, “Interview with Lydia Thompson, September 23, 2013,” UGA Special Collections Libraries Oral Histories, accessed May 25, 2024,