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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. A rare right whale and her calf showed up in the Gulf of Mexico near Pensacola. Normally the remaining 400 right whales stay in the Atlantic Ocean. They migrate south from New England every spring to give birth to their calves off St. Augustine. This pair were previously spotted in February off Key Largo, then showed up in the northern Gulf. [Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research]
  2. Pinellas County Commissioner  Janet Long
  3. Dr. Peter Pritchard of Oviedo was the world's leading expert on turtles and tortoises. He displayed the world's largest collection of specimens at his Chelonian Research Institute where he gave tours to anyone for free. He died Tuesday at age 76. [Courtesy of the Chelonian Research Institute] [Chelonian Research Institute, Oviedo]
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  5. A contractor with Pinellas County uses a tiller to fluff sand on the shoreline of Redington Shores beach Thursday. The tiller fluffs the sand making it easier for sea turtles to dig nests to lay eggs. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  6. Debbie and her husband Michael, of Parkersburg, West Virginia, fish from the Dunedin Causeway Thursday. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission extended the period of catch and release for several species of fish along the west coast of Florida. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  7. A slurry of dead fish, the result of Red Tide, moved out of Clearwater Harbor on the north side of Sand Key Park during a 16-month-long algae bloom. So many fish were killed that the state is limiting anglers to catch-and-release when it comes to snook, redfish and sea trout.  [Times photo (2018) by Douglas R. Clifford]
  8. A pair of wood storks, left, and a large group of white ibis rest and feed in a wetland area off Loop Road in the Big Cypress National Preserve. Florida is home to more wetlands than any other state except Alaska. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times (2008)]
  9. In this March 22, 1994 photo, artist Michael Diana, right, sits in court as his attorneys discuss jury selection in his obscenity trial. Diana became the first cartoonist in U.S. history to be jailed for obscenity. [RIVENBARK, MAURICE  |  Tampa Bay Times]
  10. USF scientist Stephen Hesterberg holds two oyster shells from Crystal River -- one small and modern, the other large and prehistoric. Hesterberg was part of a team of scientists who have documented how Florida oysters have shrunk since prehistoric times. Climate change may be a factor. [Courtesy of the University of South Florida] [Photo from USF]
  11. Researchers aboard the R/V Bellows work to bring a blacktip shark aboard during a research cruise on Monday, April 17, 2017, off the coast of Florida.  The blacktip shark are responsible for most unprovoked shark attacks in Florida waters.
  12. 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]
  13. 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]
  14. 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. [SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times]
  15. 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.  [Imec]
  16. An 11-foot alligator is seen in the Clearwater home of Mary Wischhusen early May 31. [Clearwater Police Department]
  17. 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]
  18. 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. [Jim Damaske]
  19. 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) [U.S. NAVY PHOTO   |  AP]
  20. 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]
  21. 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) [CLIFF OWEN  |  AP]
  22. Mohammed "Mo" Haitham, 19, was a track star at Lakewood High School. He was one of the victims of the Naval Air Station Pensacola shooting on Friday, according to his mother and Lakewood High principal Erin Savage. [CARRY PRATT  |  Photo by Carrie Pratt]
  23. St. Petersburg police said they arrested Jesse Millis-Dwyer after Homeland Security detected him uploading a sexually explicit photo of a 12-year-old girl to a Russian photo-sharing site. [St. Pete]
  24. Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Thursday the launch of the amateur "Python Bowl" competition that offers prizes for catching the most and the longest pythons.The pythons are an invasive species that have wiped out large numbers of small animals in the Everglades.