Craig Pittman, Environment, Growth and Development Reporter

Craig Pittman

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.

Wildlife Commission steps up water patrols as manatee deaths approach record

Rescuers tend to an injured manatee. During the rescue, biologists discovered that the  manatee had bad cuts on its tail, likely caused by a boat. So it was taken to a rehab center for treatment. [Times (2017)]
The record, set last year, may fall as early as this summer. The number has been going up every year.

New study predicts higher high temperatures for Florida thanks to climate change

“Plenty of water, everyday, you need that. Fruits too,” said Jerry Burton, 31, of Tampa, in response to working in extreme heat. Burton has worked for American Asphalt Pavers for three months. Tuesday they lay new asphalt along 49th St. and 94th Ave. in Pinellas Park on July 16, 2019.
The study predicts that, in an average year and averaged across the state, Florida will face "105 days with a heat index over 100 degrees F -- up from just 25 days historically"

Florida manatee deaths could reach record high

FILE- This Dec. 28, 2010 photos shows a group of manatees in a canal where discharge from a nearby Florida Power & Light plant warms the water in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Florida wildlife officials say 538 manatees were found dead in the state’s waterways in 2017. That’s the third-highest annual death toll on record for the large marine mammals. [Associated Press]
Wildlife officials say toxic Red Tide and chilly temperatures contributed to the sea cow deaths in 2018, but so far in 2019 the biggest threat to manatees are boats.

Ghost orchid photos are first to show pollination — and a surprise about who's spreading the pollen

The first-ever photo showing a rustic sphinx month (Manduca rustica) probing and likely pollinating a ghost orchid bloom, in the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge. It was previously thought only one species pollinated these flowers: the giant sphinx moth. [Courtesy of Cartlon Ward Jr.]
Tampa nature photographer Carlton Ward Jr. uses trap cameras to snap photos showing something scientists didn't expect

Five things to know about blue-green algae. (Yeah, itís bad. And itís getting worse.)

Water full of algae laps along the Sewell's Point shore on the St. Lucie River under an Ocean Boulevard bridge in Martin County. [Richard Graulich |The Palm Beach Post via the Associated Press (2016)]
Blue-green algae blooms have been growing more frequent, both in Florida and elsewhere in the United States. Mississippi just closed all 21 of its beaches because of a bloom.