GULF SHORES, Ala. (WKRG) — Almost two hundred Gulf Shores students held class on the beach near the Gulf State Park Pier Thursday.

Their lesson, learning all about the importance of a healthy dune system and planting thousands of sea oats to help protect not only the sand dunes but all of the creatures that call them home.

“It’s been great as an educator to see our students take ownership of where they live,” said Jessica Sampley with Gulf Shores City Schools.

One hundred fifty fifth-graders did the planting. Another 30 middle and high schoolers showed them how. “We call them our coastal stewards, our ambassadors of the environment,” said Sampley. “It is so amazing to see.”

Last year students planted nearly four thousand plants near the state park pavilion.

The sand dune system is essential to protect from any storm coming from the Gulf of Mexico.