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.

The unexplained 6-foot alligator named Sweetie is a viral video star

By: - June 11, 2020

The video, posted on Twitter Tuesday morning by an account called “The Unexplained,” lasts just 14 seconds, but it raises so many questions. It shows a man in a hat, T-shirt and cargo pants picking up a full-grown alligator off  a sidewalk in front of a strip shopping center, then carrying it inside the Florida […]


Unfortunately for FL’s environment, the word ‘preserve’ doesn’t really mean ‘preserved’

By: - June 11, 2020

Florida can be such an odd place. In the 1980s our tourism slogan bragged that “the rules are different here,” and that’s still the case. It’s true for our clothing (casual) and our footwear (flip-flops go with everything!) and our driving (either aggressive or super slooooow). It’s even true of our language. Take the word […]


Florida Forever becomes Florida never in the hands of the Legislature

By: - June 4, 2020

Last week, at a time when we all needed a little good news, Florida’s governor and Cabinet held one of their rare meetings and gave us something to cheer about. They approved spending $79 million to preserve nearly 32,000 acres of undeveloped land from the Panhandle down to the Green Swamp in Central Florida and […]


All the gorgeous beaches that belong to Florida’s taxpayers face a great threat: climate change

By: - May 28, 2020

Last week, Stephen Leatherman, aka “Dr. Beach,” announced his selection as the best beach in the United States — one in the Florida Panhandle, Grayton Beach State Park. “It’s some of the finest white sand in the world,” said Leatherman, director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University. “The first time I […]


Searching for a Panacea amid a pandemic: ‘We’ve been in continuous operation for 56 years – until the coronavirus’

By: - May 21, 2020

Usually, when you see Jack Rudloe in the spring, he’s surrounded by schoolchildren and sea life. Usually the parking lot of Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory, the only tourist attraction in the coastal town of Panacea about 40 minutes south of Tallahassee, is packed with school buses and cars with out-of-state plates. Usually, Gulf Specimen’s founder […]


Spraying antibiotics on oranges is risky — and it appears it may not work, either

By: - May 14, 2020

Remember the story of the old lady who swallowed a fly? She kept putting bigger and more dangerous animals down her gullet to fix the problem — first a spider to catch the fly, then a bird to catch the spider, then a cat to catch the bird and so on. Something similar is going […]

Iguana tell you a story

By: - May 7, 2020

The first time I saw one was around 1986. It was during my first visit to Boca Grande, an island near Fort Myers. A woman was driving me around, showing off the island, when suddenly something that looked like a mini-Godzilla raced across the road in front of us. It was about 4 feet tall, […]


What happened at the treasured Big Cypress National Preserve was “horrendous”

By: - April 30, 2020

The Big Cypress National Preserve is a soggy wonder — a place that is, as nature writer Jeff Ripple once noted, one of the few left in Florida where you can stand still and hear nothing but the sounds of nature. Forty-six years ago, when the federal government bought the Big Cypress Swamp and created […]

Ginnie Springs and Seven Springs Water Company: Profit ahead of the public good?

By: - April 23, 2020

Bob Knight was paddling the Santa Fe River last month when he saw the crowd. In spite of warnings from medical experts, dozens of people had crowded into Ginnie Springs to splash around and laugh and have a good time. Nobody wore a mask – it would have gotten soggy. Florida has more first-magnitude springs […]


A decade after the BP oil spill: Sick fish, Gulf pollution, and human health problems

By: - April 16, 2020

On March 31, 2010, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich visited St. Petersburg’s Vinoy hotel to give a speech where he talked about how safe offshore oil drilling was. He was touting his book, Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less. On that same day, then-President Barack Obama announced he would open a lot of the nation’s […]


Does Florida still need that trio of billion-dollar toll roads?

By: - April 9, 2020

Florida’s controversial new toll roads hit a potential roadblock this week. Two of them are supposed to cut through rural Levy County, near Ocala. But Levy commissioners voted 3-2 on Tuesday to say they do not want them — primarily because of the development they would bring. “I don’t want to see Levy County become […]