Trinidad Tidings: Pandemic Project – Field Guide to Household Wildlife

Ann Walance and her grandchildren, Vivian Rose Adams, age 11, and John Spencer Adams, age 13, both students at Trinidad School students, made the most of a year during which most normal activities were limited due to the coronavirus. 

Beginning last October, they wrote, illustrated and are distributing a book called Field Guide to Household Wildlife, which combines charm, wit, and a wealth of practical zoological information suitable for children and adults.

With stories and illustrations by Ann and Vivian on almost every page of the 120-page volume, the paperback book tells of the family’s encounters with amphibians, birds, arthropods, reptiles and mammals which happen to have resided in or near their Trinidad, Arcata, Willow Creek and Arcata homes. 

Vivian and John’s parents are Rose Adams and Spencer Stiff, who live off Stagecoach Road.

Some of the creatures described are frog, salamander, eagle, hawk, hummingbird, owl, quail, raven, swallow, woodpecker, wren, ant, bee, beetle, caterpillar, grasshopper, ladybug, mosquito, pill bug, potato bug, praying mantis, scorpion, spider, tick, wasp, snake, bat, bear, bobcat, cat, coyote, deer, dog, fox, gopher, mountain lion, mouse, rabbit, raccoon, rat, ringtail, skunk and squirrel.

Here is the gray fox (Urocyon cenereoargenteus) description: “The fox who lives near your house does not want to come inside, but he does want to make sure you know that the place belongs to him. That is why he leaves a little pile of fox poop on the highest spot he can reach, sometimes on a rock, sometimes on the top of the roof. His voice on an autumn night might confuse you the first time you hear it because he barks a bit like a bird, and he might give you a little growl if he sees you in the daytime. It’s OK to bark back at him. This is the only fox that easily climbs trees. A mother fox (vixen) might bring her pups (kits) to your lawn for play time. She may sit on top of the picnic table where she can keep a good eye on them and when it’s time to go home to the den she will give a few barks and they will come scampering back. People have trained foxes as pets but they seem happiest in the wild.”

In an end note Ann wrote: “Vivian and I have enjoyed finding and learning about these animals... Vivian helped with the stories and did many of the illustrations. We are lucky to live in a place where the animals who enter our homes are not dangerous. Household wildlife in another place might include monkeys or koala bears or guinea pigs. We don’t have to worry about alligators, and most of the animals who live with us are pets who love us. But I am ready to be surprised again. Are you?” 

John Spencer Adams is business manager, editor and distributor for Family Camp Books. Bug Press printed the books. Copies are available at Northtown Books and Trinidad Museum. Email f[email protected] for more information or to order the book.

Trinidad Head Art Hike

Trinidad Coastal Land Trust presents a Trinidad Head Art Hike on Saturday, May 15, from 10 a.m. to noon. 

Local artist and art workshop leader Margaret Kellerman writes: “Sketching is a great way to slow down and study the natural world at various stops on the trail around Trinidad Head.” 

Join her on a unique interpretive hike for artists at all levels, ages 12 and up. Limited to six participants. Call (707) 677-2501 to register or email [email protected]. 

Memorial Lighthouse: Past, Present & Future

Jan West, retired educator and Trinidad Civic Club co-president, will present “Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse: Past, Present & Future” on Monday, May 17 from noon to 1:30 p.m. via Zoom at the HSU OLLI Brown Bag program. 

The Trinidad Civic Club preserves the Lighthouse’s maritime history and is steward of the memorial for those lost and buried at sea. 

Learn about the history and plans for the memorial site at Trinidad Harbor. The presentation is free. RSVP at for the Zoom link. 

Email Patti at [email protected].



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