Author Craig Pittman Shares Stories About Weird Florida at SPC Midtown

Craig Pittman Speaking at Midtown Campus

The St. Petersburg College Midtown Center hosted journalist and author Craig Pittman at an SPC Reads event in March.

Pittman works for the Tampa Bay Times and focuses on environmental journalism, particularly in Florida. In 2006 and 2007, he won the Top Investigative Reporting Award. He has authored:

  • “The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal, and The World’s Most Beautiful Orchid”
  • “Manatee Insanity: Inside the War over Florida’s Most Famous Endangered Species”
  • “Paving Paradise: Florida’s Vanishing Wetlands and The Failure of No Net Loss”
  • “Oh Florida! How America’s Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country”

During the March 22 SPC Reads event at the Midtown Center, Pittman discussed how bizarre Florida can be as well as how the odd state can influence other states in the country. As he went through his presentation, laughter from students and staff echoed throughout the room and flowed out into the main building. He talked about all topics from Florida’s strange history to unusual facts pertaining to the state.

What I learned from the event is Florida is crazier than I thought! Pittman was extremely informative on unusual facts pertaining to the state. He delved into some interesting history, involving how Florida use to be called “Rogue’s Paradise” while it was a territory and the first Florida flag said “Let Us Alone.” He also mentioned the creation of NASCAR in 1947 in Daytona, FL.

The one fact that stood out to me the most is when Pittman talked about a contest over who could eat the most cockroaches with the winner taking home a python.  The winner of the contest died from insect parts blocking his airway!

Overall the presentation done by Pittman was interesting. I got to speak with him before his presentation, and he is very passionate about what he does. I love his enthusiasm when it comes to nature and anything pertaining to Florida itself!

About the Author

My name is Kali Sheehan, and I am student at SPC Allstate Center. I major in Crime Scene Technology and plan to start my B.A.S. in Public Safety Administration next spring term.

After I graduate with my B.A.S., I am planning to work as a Crime Scene Technician. I chose to attend the event once I read Craig Pittman’s book “The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal, and The World’s Most Beautiful Orchid.” The book covers a unique situation of crime that has not been covered by anyone before. I was thoroughly impressed with the topic and was interested in attending the event to see what else he wanted to talk about.

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