Friday, October 11, 2013

Dispatches from the Field

Last week, Christian and I traveled to Glynn County, on the coast of Georgia, to collect interviews for a new oral history project we’ve started: The Georgia Environmental Oral History Project. Based on a partnership with Betsy Bean (a native of Glynn County), the goal of the project is to document the forces that have shaped and are currently shaping the Georgia landscape, including such topics as:

-          environmental activism (with a focus on grassroots activism)
-          the development of legislation related to environmental issues
-          the environmental history of the Georgia coast
-          the interplay between conservation, industry, and tourism
-          the politics of "sustainability"
-          the relationship between environmental issues and public safety

While ultimately we’d like to collect interviews from across the state, we decided to start in Glynn County. With numerous Superfund sites, the development issues surrounding St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island, and the challenges of protecting coastal marshlands, Glynn County is an example of the variety of environmental issues Georgia has and continues to face.

We returned to Athens after a two-day recording spree with eight fantastic oral histories to inaugurate the project. Our hosts in Brunswick, the College of Coastal Georgia, couldn’t have been more helpful and accommodating (Thanks, Cary!). Our goal is to collect a variety of viewpoints on environmental topics, and we feel we got off to a great start with these first interviews. We have a long list of names of people we’d still like to talk to, and we’re hoping to be able to plan another trip to Brunswick, perhaps in early 2014, to do some more collecting. While we’re still in the midst of processing these recordings to make them available online and write a finding aid for the collection, here are a few brief clips to introduce you to our first round of interviewees.

Post by Callie Holmes, Oral History and Media Archivist, Russell Library

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