MILTON — On Sept. 18, the Blackwater Pyrates presented grants at their monthly meeting to two local archeology graduate students from the University of West Florida. Each student was awarded $1,500 to further their research.

Rachel Hine, the first recipient, is conducting research into historical data in several Santa Rosa County cemeteries. Her research involves working with Milton High School students to encourage their interest in all things archeological as well.

Andrew "AJ" Van Slyke is continuing his research into the H.M.S. Mentor, a 24-gun sloop of war that was sunk in Blackwater Bay during the latter stages of the Revolutionary War. His research concerns the circumstances involving the Mentor’s sinking.

In keeping with their three core missions, the Pyrates advance local historical preservation by making grant money available to local archeology graduate students whose research involves the Milton and Blackwater Basin areas.  Anyone interested in learning more about the Blackwater Pyrate grant program can contact Grant Event Captain John Kalashian at