Craig Pittman

Craig Pittman

Craig Pittman is a native Floridian. In 30 years at the Tampa Bay Times, he won numerous state and national awards for his environmental reporting. He is the author of six books. In 2020 the Florida Heritage Book Festival named him a Florida Literary Legend. Craig is co-host of the "Welcome to Florida" podcast. He lives in St. Petersburg with his wife and children.


FL Legislature, longtime enemy of conservation funding, OKs creating wildlife corridors

By: - June 10, 2021

Eight years ago, I talked to a nature photographer named Carlton Ward Jr., an eighth-generation Floridian, about a crazy idea he had. To me, it sounded both heroic and quixotic, but I didn’t tell him that. Ward’s idea, cooked up with bear biologist Joe Guthrie, was to lead a small group of people on a […]

algae bloom

To fix Florida’s latest toxic algae crisis, fix the DEP

By: - June 3, 2021

Dear Gov. DeSantis, Hello again! I wrote you a letter last year and you didn’t respond, but it’s OK. I figure you’re pretty busy, what with battling the cruise industry and Big Tech. I’m writing to you again because you’re facing a great opportunity right now, and I want to be sure you don’t miss […]


Goliath grouper making a comeback in Florida, so let’s kill ‘em

By: - May 27, 2021

This is a fish story. A really BIG fish story. Florida’s waters are as full of odd creatures as our streets are. We’ve got walking catfish, which are both invasive and disturbing to watch; the pig-snouted (but delicious) hogfish; and some weird-looking sea cucumbers that are valuable because some folks believe them to be an […]


FL allowing mining of state-owned wetlands has a certain smell to it

By: - May 20, 2021

I got another speeding ticket a couple of weeks ago. I’m not proud of that fact. It’s my first in quite a while, but in 40 or so years of driving Florida’s highways I’ve racked up enough infractions to qualify as a Leadfoot First Class. My excuse is that it’s genetic. My dad, who taught […]


FL’s first chief science officer talks about the job — and the controversy

By: - May 13, 2021

Last week, I had coffee with a scientist named Tom Frazer. I was trying to nudge him to say some things about his former boss, but he was choosing his words verrrrry carefully. We sat at a sidewalk table in downtown St. Petersburg, both of us fully vaccinated but still maintaining our social distance, because […]


Big Sugar burns fields, bends DeSantis and FL Legislature to do its bidding

By: - May 6, 2021

When my kids were younger and in Boy Scouts, I enjoyed going camping with them around the state. We’d splash in the springs, paddle the rivers, tromp through the swamps. The day’s adventures would always end with a campfire – and a problem. Campfires are essential to making s’mores, but oh, that smoke! Somehow the […]


Is FL facing another Summer of Slime? Thank Gov. DeSantis and do-nothing Legislature

By: - April 29, 2021

Sometimes I wonder what it was like to be one of the early Spanish explorers of Florida, back when you could see it in all its swampy, bug-infested, gator-bellowing glory. I can’t help but wonder about their reaction the first time they noticed the waters of what we now call the Gulf of Mexico had […]


For Florida Woman Shannon Estenoz, just appointed to U.S. Dept. of Interior job: Here’s a to-do list

By: - April 22, 2021

NEWS ITEM: Biden administration nominates fifth-generation Key West native Shannon Estenoz as assistant interior secretary for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service (April 14) Dear Shannon, First of all, congratulations! As a fellow Florida native — albeit one from the Panhandle, not from the Keys — I am always happy to see […]


Hiding Piney Point toxic waste underground may give us a taste of super-nasty water

By: - April 15, 2021

On Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis held a press conference at Piney Point, the old phosphate processing plant near Tampa Bay. Only a week earlier, Piney Point was making international headlines for being the source of a potential toxic waste disaster — not for the first time. Now the crisis had been averted, and DeSantis didn’t […]


Piney Point threatens Tampa Bay, but other FL estuaries are in trouble, too

By: - April 6, 2021

Even if you live outside of Florida, you’ve probably heard of Tampa Bay. It’s a popular, if if somewhat vague, sports team “location.” The Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Stanley Cup-winning Tampa Bay Lightning play in Tampa, but the World Series also-ran Tampa Bay Rays play in St. Petersburg (at least for now). […]


Herbicide used in FL as a cure-all is more like a kill-all

By: - April 1, 2021

Can you imagine what life was like for Florida’s earliest occupants? Think of the unrelenting heat that led them to name so many places after Hell. Think of the rugged terrain, full of sharp-edged sawgrass and thorny thickets blocking every effort to pass. Think of how hard it was to combat all the skeeters and […]


FL legislators bigfoot local government to benefit big-money developers

By: - March 25, 2021

Florida is an exceptional state in so many ways. We’re the only state where iguanas pop up in people’s toilets. We’re the only one where the list of state park jobs includes “mermaid.” And we can boast that we’ve got not one, not two, not three, but four Bigfoots (Bigfeet?). Other states have, at best, […]