Love Nature but Black Flies and Mosquitos?!?

I love nature. I am in my element in nature, but as any outdoor enthusiast in New England will attest to, black flies and mosquitos are challenging. Black Flies come first and whether you are a gardener, hiker or paddler, you have had to balance the joy of those first warm spring days with trees and flowers blooming, with the annoyance of those pesky insects.

So what good are black flies? Well, they are actually a great indicator of clean water. They require clean running water for breeding and cannot tolerate pollution, so if you have black flies you also have a clean stream or river nearby. While the females are seeking blood for nourishment, the males are only dining on plant sap and nectar, so they are doing their part in pollinating our earliest spring flowers. You can even thank a black fly for a great blueberry crop. Black flies are food for other wildlife including dragonflies, bats and swallows. It’s kind of nice to know that they aren’t just dining on us, but they too are part of the food chain! Happily, black flies depart just about the time mosquitos come out, so we don’t have to contend with both at once.

How about the mosquito and its value? Two words: food chain. There are thousands of species of mosquitos all over the world and they are critical to a healthy ecosystem. Mosquitoes are a food source for birds, amphibians, reptiles and other insects.  Just like black flies, male mosquitoes are often plant pollinators and larval mosquitoes live in aquatic environments and are an important diet staple for a variety of fish. And they are a source of many jokes. Anyone who has vacationed in New England and strolled around a gift shop has seen countless items with a picture of a mosquito with the tagline, “State Bird of…”.

While I can’t say I like black flies or mosquitos, I can say that I love that they have value in our natural world. So, I will put on my repellent, long sleeves and pants and venture into my back yard to share nature with them.




Camp Runoia’s Pioneering Women

How grateful we are that our Camp Runoia founders were brave women who dared to venture out of their comfort zones.  Pioneers of their time they chose to take a path that not many women had walked and left us a great legacy of strength and fortitude.


Early residential summer camps were primarily established to provide an opportunity for children from urban areas to be away from the cities and have an experience in nature.  Initially it was boys who were provided with this opportunity but it wasn’t long before girls’ camps opened alongside them.  It was strongly believed that living away from the conveniences of home in the ‘wilderness’ would build character and strong moral values.   Perhaps unique in Runoia’s case was that women were our primary founders.

The 1907 world that Miss Weiser and Miss Pond lived in seems a million lifetimes away from the lives that our campers lead today.


Can you imagine that in 1907…

Women’s life expectancy was around 50

English suffragettes stormed British Parliament and many were arrested suffragette-uk


Julia Ward Howe was the first woman elected to National Institute of Arts & Letters

Theodore Roosevelt was president

The passenger liner RMS Lusitania made its maiden voyage from England to NYC

Katharine Hepburn and John Wayne were born

Rudyard Kipling received the Nobel prize for literature

Good Housekeeping magazine cost $1 for an annual subscription

Trade unions were established

Oklahoma become the 46th state

It is amazing that the values promoted by residential summer camps in 1907 are the same as they are in 2017

Camp helps build self-confidence and self-esteem

Camp is a safe environment

Camp is a place to build social skills and make friends


We hope that Camp Runoia will continue to provide girls with the opportunity to bravely follow in the footsteps of the pioneering women who came before us.  We hope that we may all have strong female role models and be them too.