Craig Pittman - Environment, Growth and Development Reporter

Environment, Growth and Development Reporter

I’m a native Floridian whose family arrived here in 1850. I graduated from Troy State University in Alabama, where my muckraking for the student paper prompted an agitated dean to label me “the most destructive force on campus.” Since then I’ve covered a variety of beats and quite a few natural disasters, including hurricanes, wildfires and the Florida Legislature. Stories I have written on environmental issues have won national awards, and "The Daily Show" once called me a "nerd" about Florida history. I’ve written four books. The most recent one,Oh, Florida! How America's Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country, is a New York Times bestseller and won a Florida Book Awards gold medal in 2017.

  1. Twenty-two panthers have been killed on Florida roadways this year, a decline from the 26 killed last year. [Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission]
    All told, 26 panthers are known to have died this year.
  2. Algae laps along the shoreline of the St. Lucie River, when heavy rains forced the release of tainted water from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries. The releases spawned massive blue-green algae blooms. [Palm Beach Post]
    An oil spill, toxic algae blooms and two hurricanes left their marks
  3. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times
Biologists begin to examine a dead manatee at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Marine Mammal Pathology Lab, St. Petersburg in this 2018 photo.  Left to Right are: Volunteer Kathleen McClure, Marine Mammal Biologists Tara Whitcomb, Sean Tennant, and Brandon Bassett.
    Number of boat-related deaths has escalated each year since 2016
  4. Researchers from the University of Central Florida and International innovation company, Imec have developed a camera that uses specific wavelength of light to easily find pythons in habitat where they are typically well camouflaged.
    The invasive snakes live in hard-to-reach areas of South Florida’s famed marsh
  5. An 11-foot alligator is seen in the Clearwater home of Mary Wischhusen early May 31. [Clearwater Police Department]
    Also the gator in the yoga pants, of course
  6. A giant sinkhole opened in 2016 at a Mosaic phosphate plant in Mulberry, Fixing it took two years and the secrecy surrounding the sinkhole damaged the company's public image. Now it's dealing with a mysterious seepage problem that it has not been able to figure out for three months. [JIM DAMASKE  |  Times]
    An environmental activist says the phosphate company should shut down its Bartow plant until it finds the source.
  7. High tide from offshore hurricane Michael creeps up into the Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs Wednesday afternoon 10/10/2018 after the Anclote River backs up. In 2019, Tarpon Springs recently formed a citizen sustainability advisory committee to help the city plan for the effects of sea level rise and climate change.
    A similar bill filed last year never made it out of committee
  8. This undated photo provided by the U.S. Navy shows Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, from St. Petersburg, Fla. One of the victims of the shooting Friday, Dec. 6, 2019, at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., has been identified as Haitham, 19, who joined the Navy after graduating from high school last year, according to the Tampa Bay Times. (U.S. Navy via AP)
    Ferg’s will sponsor the benefit concert for the family of Mohammad “Mo” Haitham
  9. Richard Sajko of Valrico talks about how he killed one of the two bears on the back of his pickup truck in 2015 during the first Florida Black Bear hunt in 21 years at the Rock Springs Run Wildlife Management Area near Lake Mary. The hunt was so controversial that state officials have not held a second one. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
    But commissioners leave the door open for future hunts in next decade
  10. An Air Force carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Navy Seaman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, of St. Petersburg, Fla., Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. A Saudi gunman killed three people including Haitham in a shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
    Foreign citizens are allowed to buy guns if they first get a hunting license