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Amelia Islander

A Dune Called "NaNa"

Mar 26, 2014 02:00AM
NaNa, the tallest dune in Florida, is a protected landmark due largely to the efforts of MaVynne Betsch (January 14, 1935-September 5, 2005), widely known as the "Beach Lady."  Betsch, who once performed opera in London, Paris and Germany, returned to American Beach in 1975 as a full-time resident.  Here, she used her resources and talents for the preservation of nature, the environment and the African-American community of American Beach.  For this 60-foot dune system that she dubbed "NaNa," and the adjoining property to the shoreline, her efforts resulted in acquiring nearly ten acres as a national park now located in the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve.

The "Beach Lady" also championed efforts that led to the posting of nesting signs for the protection of sea turtle eggs and encouraged residents to plant wildflowers on vacant lots to stabilize the sand as well as serve as hosts for butterfly nestlings and feedings.  MaVynne Betsche, devoted the last 25 years of her life as this historic African-American community's most vocal advocate.  Beach Lady is lovingly remembered for her mantra, "Getting the most from the least and living peacefully in harmony with nature is the most rewarding lifestyle."