Nearly 80 volunteers gathered at Lobsterville Beach Saturday morning to take part in dune restoration efforts led by the Natural Resources Group of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah).

The morning’s task: planting 20,000 shoots of beach grass.

The annual event began in 2015, prompted in part by the severe damage caused by Hurricane Sandy three years earlier. Native American beach grass (ammophilia breviligulata) collects and stabilizes wind-blown sand in coastal resource systems.

Kazmira and Bhu Pedler know how to have fun working. — Ray Ewing

Local tribal chief Ryan Malonson welcomed the volunteers and invoked Aquinnah Wampanoag legends of birds and turtles offering protection. He recalled his childhood summers spent diving for sea clams and lobstering in waters off Lobsterville Beach.

Bret Stearns, director of the natural resources department for the tribe, explained the science of planting the grass shoots in April, during the wet season so the roots can take hold and grow over the summer. The grasses will retain the sand, protecting the dunes and also creating a habitat for birds.

Participants came from around the Island. Garden Club members arrived solo, in pairs and small groups. A cluster of people shared condolences over the death this winter of Zeke Wilkins. Three generations of women watched a two-year old toddler delight in the sand and water.

Bret Steans, director of the natural resources department for the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head. — Ray Ewing

Regional high school students Annabelle Brothers and Ingrid Moore brought experience. Both are members of the school’s Protect Your Environment Club and participate in monthly Climate Cafe discussions led by students for the general public. Ms. Moore has been doing an internship with BioDiversityWorks creating piping plover enclosures, and Ms. Brothers has been working with Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary.

Ms. Moore took note of the beauty of the location.

Aquinnah resident, Wampanoag tribe member and artisan jeweler Berta Giles Welch said she has spent years walking Lobsterville Beach, and called Saturday’s volunteer effort inspirational.

“It’s really important,” she said. “You can see the difference it makes.”

Vineyarders weren’t the only people helping out. Nina Lasser of Brookline accompanied her friend Theonie Anastassiadis from Somerville. Ms. Anastassiadis is familiar with Lobsterville Beach, she said, through friends who live close by. She noted the difference between what the beach looks like now from artwork in her friends’ home depicting the beach in years past.

Plantings will help protect the dunes. — Ray Ewing

Throughout the morning, staff members from the Natural Resources Group walked the length of the beach to deliver seemingly-endless bales of beach grass shoots and offer encouragement.

After two and a half hours, as the plantings approached a culvert where a creek emptied into Menemsha Bight, the project was complete. Waiting back at the road for the volunteers were breakfast burritos and pastries provided by Theresa Manning of Quitsa Catering, along with fresh fruit and coffee.

Environmental coordinator Beckie Finn collected tools and gloves as she offered grateful thanks to all.

“Come back in a year,” lab manager Andrew Jacobs encouraged the participants as they left the beach. “You’ll be able to see growth from all the work you’ve done.”

More pictures.