The Virginia Beach HammerHeads are at it again. With a membership count reaching upwards of 180, they are certainly the largest chapter on record! They also remain one of the most enthusiastic and active supporters of protecting our underwater environment. In the group's first year, they have held several events to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, and focused on raising awareness of the effects of marine pollution in conjunction with the Virginia Marine Science Museum. 

So, what's next? With its Reef Ball Project, the group is challenging itself to build an artificial reef off of the Virginia Beach coast, using the reef ball component system and volunteers from the HammerHeads. An ongoing project, the first group of reef balls will be deployed in 2001, with more to follow each year. The team at Virginia Beach has made a long-term commitment to protecting the waters that we all enjoy exploring.
Adding to the excitement for this project, Head Hammer Charly Watts has received an offer from the "Reefs Around the World" Grant program, qualifying the HammerHeads for reduced pricing for purchasing the reef balls. This is great news and will surely fuel the project to great success!

The Reef Ball Project is designed to benefit the marine environment by attracting a wide variety of sea life from soft coral and mussels, to schooling fish and larger marine animals. Members of the HammerHeads will be tracking the reef growth and animal presence through photo and video. Look for these images to be featured in upcoming issues of
Shark Bites!

As an example of this group's undying energy and enthusiasm, this spring, the Virginia Beach Hammerheads participated in Lynnhaven Dive Centers annual "Dive For A Cure" to benefit the American cancer society. Divers spend 24 hours under water from 2pm March 16th to 2pm March 17th and are sponsored by the hour to raise money to fight cancer. Twelve local Hammerheads will each pull a 2-hour shift on the relay team to cover the 24 hour period. The event raised over $17,000.

Congratulations to Charley Watts and the HammerHeads of Virginia Beach…keep up the good work!
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