You don’t have to be a scientist to begin thinking like one

Photo by Josh Riemer on Unsplash

Welcome! I’m so excited you could join me today. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Micha Petty. I’m a Master Naturalist specializing in herpetology. This article is actually part of an online certification program produced by The Herpetology Collective, but I’m sharing it with you because it deserves to be seen by as many people as possible.

I’m really stoked about today’s topic. We’re going to discuss thinking like a scientist. I hope you can stick with me to the end and that I leave you with some things to think about.

I created an award-winning book by myself with no formal training. Such a project is not for the faint of heart.

NOTE: My book is a non-fiction work about herpetology and conservation (a niche market, to be sure). This article is not intended to promote my book.

This story is meant to clarify some of the processes that went into this project for the benefit of other aspiring self-published authors. I use my book as an illustration simply because it is the real-life basis of my own experience.

Reader photo by Mark Krist

In order to keep this story from turning into a book by itself, after a brief overview, we are going to focus on three aspects that I get the most questions about.

Those are:

  • Selecting a printer,
  • Fulfilling orders (the shipping process), and
  • A few words about where to focus sales efforts.

Every time I mention printing and fulfilling my own books, other authors tend to pepper…

Regardless of your political views on the right to keep and bear arms, firearm safety and proficiency is indisputably a valuable survival skillset.

Let me be clear right off the bat. This article isn’t meant to make you like guns. I’m not here to change your views about the right to keep and bear arms. You’re going to make your own decisions about that issue.

What I am here to do is impress upon you the importance of firearm safety in order to reduce avoidable accidents. Even if you think guns shouldn’t exist, that is no reason to ignore the fact that they are here to stay, and there is no downside to understanding the precepts of firearm safety.

Photo by STNGR Industries on Unsplash

Stop me if you’ve ever heard these:

  1. Stop, Drop, and Roll

Most people don’t give much thought to preparedness until they experience a disaster for themselves. For example, I daresay quite a few of us are more keenly aware now of how much toilet paper we have on hand than we were before COVID-19.

In the past (hopefully less so now), many people seemed to conflate disaster preparedness with being a kook or conspiracy theorist. Granted, there are people on the fringe of society that make “prepping” and hoarding their main life’s goal, but that doesn’t mean that buying a few extra candles or dry goods is a bad thing.


Some tips and tricks you should know about fires before heading into the wild.

Photo by Manuel Meurisse on Unsplash

Being able to build a fire in the wilderness is absolutely integral to outdoor survival, yet it remains a skill that many people sadly lack. Sure, just about anyone can get a blaze going with some store-bought tinder and enough lighter fluid, but the goal is to get rid of those training wheels as soon as possible.

The ability to build a fire using available resources in the wild (especially in adverse conditions and inclement weather) is probably the first thing a newcomer to the outdoors should seek to master.

If this were an expert-level article, we would delve into…

You don’t need a whole-house generator to stay cool and connected.

Let’s talk about power. No, not whether you can lift me over your head with one arm- electrical power.

First off, let’s admit that people have been doing without electrical power for the vast majority of recorded history. Can you simply go old school in the woods or during an emergency? Sure.

However, humans have invented, produced, and purchased countless items that rely on electricity for a reason- convenience. And those conveniences, if properly chosen, can sometimes equate to life or death in a crisis (e.g., GPS if you are lost in the woods).

Photo by Alexander Andrews on Unsplash

There are so many ways to…

Practical Tips and Tricks to Help the Average Person Survive Extraordinary Situations

Homemade “Hobo Candles” for outdoor and emergency use, photo by Micha Petty

If you have been alive during 2020, you have probably felt the need for disaster preparedness.

I am not talking about kooky conspiracy theories. There are plenty of enough very real disasters and emergencies in the world without anyone having to dig around in the shadows to find them. This publication aims to introduce you to everyday tips and tricks that you can put to use in real life.

For example, the first rule of being a “mountain man” (or mountain woman, etc.) is:

“If you have conveniences, use them. If you don’t, do without.”

You don’t get extra points in the wild or in a crisis for showing off. You can and probably should learn…

What Facebook needs is a vaccine for viral misinformation.

Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake photo by Clint Guadiana

Being a wildlife educator has its ups and downs. When you help someone get past their “only good snake is a dead snake” thinking and they start letting wildlife go in peace, that is a win worth celebrating. However, some days it feels like the wins are drowned out by the thousands of others just waiting to jump on the latest viral bandwagon.

I get it, though. We all like learning something new, and when we think we’ve stumbled across what seems like a life-saving tip, we want to share that with others. …

Greetings, everyone!

Thanks for following our publication. I hope you find it edifying. We are always pleased to hear your feedback and want to continue working to make this your go-to source for stories about the world that sustains us.

For those of you that don’t know, The Natural World is a publication of Louisiana Exotic Animal Resource Network (L.E.A.R.N.), a nonprofit corporation working to help animals through rescue, rehabilitation, and conservation education. You can visit our website or follow our Facebook page to learn more about what we do.

While we won’t make fundraising entreaties a common occurrence on…

A look at the available data and how we present this information

Venomous Eastern Copperhead, Agkistrodon contortrix, photo by Justin Sokol

As always, when talking about snakebites, let’s start with the number one thing you should take away from the discussion.

If you see a snake that you cannot positively identify as harmless, simply leave it alone.

The next best advice is to practice situational awareness when outdoors. In other words- pay attention. Seeing a snake before you accidentally step on it or reach near it is important to prevent an injury. You alone are responsible for where you put your appendages (and where your children or pets put theirs).

With that said, let’s talk for a minute about statistics.

If you are one of my regular readers, you may have…

Micha Petty

Lover of creeping things. I dispel myths. Master Naturalist, Wildlife Rehabilitator, Animal Rescuer. Download my book at

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