Author

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, including the New York Times bestseller Oh, Florida! How America's Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country, which won a gold medal from the Florida Book Awards. His latest, published in 2021, is The State You're In: Florida Men, Florida Women, and Other Wildlife. 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.

COMMENTARY

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 […]

COMMENTARY

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 […]

COMMENTARY

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 […]

COMMENTARY

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 […]

COMMENTARY

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 […]

COMMENTARY

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). […]

COMMENTARY

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 […]

COMMENTARY

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, […]

COMMENTARY

Feds said manatees weren’t endangered — now they’re dying in droves

By: - March 18, 2021

Two months ago, everybody got pretty excited when a Citrus County boat captain snapped photos showing some prankster had scraped out five letters in the algae growing on a manatee’s back. The letters spelled out the name of a certain former president now residing in Palm Beach. Amid the widespread outrage, people suggested various punishments […]

COMMENTARY

Green Swamp’s sand miners seek special treatment after their slip-up

By: - March 11, 2021

A few years ago, I went camping with my kids’ Boy Scout troop in the Green Swamp. We pitched our tents on the bank of a sparkling creek, so far from civilization that getting a cell signal proved nearly impossible. It was glorious. You wouldn’t think such a natural place existed in Central Florida, aka […]

COMMENTARY

Banning big reptiles upsets a big FL industry. Let’s upset some others

By: - March 4, 2021

The Dry Tortugas are about as far away from Florida as you can get and still be in Florida — but they’ve got a very Florida problem. We’re talking about an island group 67 miles west of Key West, one that’s entirely occupied by a national park full of birds and lush plant life. You […]

COMMENTARY

Panthers are popular on FL license plates – but the cats themselves, not so much

By: - February 25, 2021

Have you ever seen a Florida panther? They’re sleek and secretive apex predators who slip around in the twilight and full dark seeking deer and hogs to eat. They tend to avoid humans at all times – in part because we seldom do them anything but harm. This is why there are waaaay more cars […]