Vernon High School students help preserve Panama City Beaches

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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Dozens of students from Vernon High School spent Tuesday morning planting sea oats near the city pier in Panama City Beach.

"I can tell you all about it in the class, but when you go do it, you understand it," Vice President of the Three Rivers Resource Conservation & Development Council John McMurray said.

They say they planted 1,200 sea oats to re-nourish the dunes, which helps preserve the beaches and protect the properties along the coast.

"We planted sea oats to hold the sand together, if the tides ever come up so the sand doesn't wash away into the ocean," Vernon High School Student Tanner Carter said.

The goal of the field trip was to help the environment while also teaching the students the importance of plant life.

"We're hoping we can get one or two of these students to understand there's a reason we do this. It ain't to come to the beach, it ain't to play," McMurray said.

"We had to dig holes about that deep, put some of the fertilizer in it, and plant the sea oats and cover it back up and we had to do that along the banks," Vernon High School Student Kallie Batey said.

"It helps you realize how much work actually does go into this beach and it's not just people leaving it here and just people coming on and walking back off. There's a lot of work that actually goes into it keeping it maintained," Vernon High School Student Joshua Ounsford said.

"Well it helps us learn about the area we live in and it just lets us know more about what we're doing to help the community," Carter said.

Organizers say the students have planted more than 30,000 sea oats over the course of 12 years.