Interview with Nancy Thomason, September 23, 2013

Collection: Georgia Environmental Oral History Project

Dublin Core


Born in New York, Nancy Thomason is the proprietor of Beachview Books on St. Simons Island. Thomason first opened a bookstore on the island in 1976. Since moving to the Georgia coast, Thomason has been involved with various grassroots efforts to protect the marshes and beaches. She was very active in the anti-beach renourishment campaign in the late 1980s-early 1990s. Thomason was elected president of Residents United for Planning and Action (RUPA) and led efforts to protect marsh hammocks.
In this interview, Nancy Thomason discusses how the issue of beach renourishment in the late 1980s galvanized her interest in environmental issues. She discusses various aspects of the anti-beach renourishment campaign, including organizing at a grassroots level, traveling to Atlanta to speak to legislators and the Toll Committee, participating in radio talk shows, putting ads in the local paper, and the challenges of working with the media to get your message out.
Thomason also discusses becoming president of RUPA (Residents United for Planning and Action) and her work to protect marsh hammocks. Specifically, she discusses the proposed Man Head Marina on Man Head Island and how the permit to build on this marsh hammock was ultimately revoked. She discusses tactics used by RUPA and other grassroots organizations and being added to the state committee to study marsh hammocks.Thomason talks about protecting the right whale population off the Georgia Coast and the controversy surrounding the right whale sculpture on St. Simons Island. She discusses the challenges and rewards of grassroots advocacy and the difficulties of keeping a citizens civic group active and involved over a longer period of time.





Oral History Item Type Metadata


50 minutes


Nancy Thomason and Betsy Bean, “Interview with Nancy Thomason, September 23, 2013,” UGA Special Collections Libraries Oral Histories, accessed June 23, 2024,