Alabama’s Baldwin County Grasses in Classes Program

Rachel M. Gregg
Posted on: 3/29/2010 - Updated on: 12/03/2021

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Rachel Gregg

Project Summary

The Grasses in Classes program is one of the “Climate Steward” examples provided in the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s Climate Change, Wildlife, and Wildlands Toolkit for Formal and Informal Educators. Students cultivated and planted native grasses at restoration sites along Alabama’s Gulf of Mexico coast. This pilot project has also been instituted in classrooms in Tampa Bay (Florida) and Chesapeake Bay (Maryland).


Storms, such as Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina in 2004 and 2005, respectively, have degraded habitats along the Gulf Coast of the United States and damaged dunes and salt marshes in coastal Alabama. These habitats have also been destroyed by development. Native grasses provide shoreline stabilization and habitat for wildlife; without this vegetation, coastal areas are much more susceptible to increased coastal storms and sea level rise. This project is one of the case studies in the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s Climate Change, Wildlife, and Wildlands Toolkit for Formal and Informal Educators, developed to aid educators in communicating how climate change will affect the environment and how people can become “climate stewards.” The Baldwin County Grasses in Classes (BCGIC) program, created in 2005, works with students (with guidance from teachers and experts) to grow native plants for wetland and dune restoration projects. In addition, the students helped to maintain and monitor native plant nurseries, and assisted scientists with monitoring at restoration sites when possible.


Funding for this program was provided by the Gulf of Mexico Community-based Restoration Partnership. Students planted bitter panic grass (Panicum amarum), sea oats (Uniola paniculata), and saltwater cordgrass (Spartina patens) at the Bon Secour Wildlife Refuge, and removed the invasive common reed (Phragmites) and replanted grasses such as black needle rush (Juncus romerianus) and smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) at the Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Outcomes and Conclusions

Thousands of volunteer hours have been dedicated to grass and shoreline restoration projects at Bicentennial Park, Little Lagoon, and Boggy Point as well as sites around Weeks Bay, Gulf State Park, 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center, Camp Beckwith, Perdido Pass Beach, and the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. This program has been adapted to other programs in Florida and Maryland.

U.S. Global Change Research Program’s Climate Change, Wildlife, and Wildlands Toolkit for Formal and Informal Educators Gulf Coast Region


Gregg, R. M. (2021). Alabama's Baldwin County Grasses in Classes Program [Case study on a project of Baldwin County Public Schools]. Version 2.0. Product of EcoAdapt's State of Adaptation Program. Retrieved from CAKE:’s-baldwin-county-grasses-classes-program (Last updated April 2021)

Affiliated Organizations

The Baldwin County Public Schools’ mission is to provide a quality education that fosters learning and to create a world class learning environment.

The Weeks Bay Reserve encompasses 6,000 acres of land and water in and around Weeks Bay and along Mobile Bay. The Reserve has a free educational interpretive center and two boardwalks. One boardwalk is behind the Reserve Interpretive Center and leads to Weeks Bay; the pitcher plant bog boardwalk connects to Fish River. The hours of the Interpretive Center are Monday through Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Reserve is closed for state holidays but the boardwalks remain open. For more information contact the Weeks Bay Reserve at (251) 928-9792.


Effort Stage
Scale of Project
Sector Addressed
Sociopolitical Setting
Target Climate Changes and Impacts

Related Resources

Adaptation Phase
Sharing Lessons
Sector Addressed
Climate Justice
Conservation / Restoration
Culture / Communities
Disaster Risk Management
Education / Outreach
Land Use Planning
Rural / Indigenous Livelihoods
Transportation / Infrastructure
Water Resources
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