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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. 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.
  2. 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]
  3. 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.
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  5. 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]
  6. 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]
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. An 11-foot alligator is seen in the Clearwater home of Mary Wischhusen early May 31. [Clearwater Police Department]
  10. 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]
  11. 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.
  12. 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)
  13. 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]
  14. 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)
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Nov. 30, 2019• Environment
    An aerial view of the Apalachicola River near the Florida Panhandle town of Wewahitchka. Although the state has spent millions of dollars trying to protect the river from pollution, it is now planning to issue permit allowing a company to drill for oil near the river. Photo is by Rick Zelznak for Apalachicola Riverkeeper.
  19. Nov. 19, 2019• Environment
    A sinkhole opened up beneath a phosphogypsum stack at Mosaic's Mulberry plant in 2016, draining 215 million gallons of waste into the aquifer below. Neither the company nor the state Department of Environmental Protection notified the public until a television report revealed what happened. [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times (2016)]
  20. Dr. Carlyle Luer and his wife Jane  with an orchid in Ecuador, one of the many countries where they searched for the flowers. Luer, co-founder of Marie Selby Botanitcal Gardens in Sarasota, died Nov. 9 at age 97. Photo courtesy of Selby Gardens.
  21. One of a pair of orphaned panther kittens is being examined by the staff at ZooTampa. The pair, named Pepper and Cypress, so far have shown no signs of the ailment that led to their mother's death, zoo officials said.
  22. Archaeologist Terry Barbour excavates a bead-making site on Raleigh Island in the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge. Barbour's team then used a drone with radar to map the entire village of 37 ring-shaped piles of oyster shells where ancient dwellers made beads out of shells.
  23. This sinkhole opened up in September 2016 underneath a gypsum stack at a Mosaic phosphate fertilizer plant in Mulberry, leaking 215 million gallons of contaminated water into the aquifer.
  24. Oct. 30, 2019• Environment
    Workers clean up thousands of small fish that washed onto North Redington Beach last year as a result of the worst Red Tide bloom in a decade.  A new Red Tide bloom began in September off Collier County and appears to be creeping northward. [SCOTT KEELER  |  TIMES]