Learn about effects of insects on ecosystems, food at MCC program

Insects bite, sting, irritate, and can transmit disease — but they also pollinate flowers, contributing significantly to food production. Are they friends or foes? Join McHenry County College’s next Experts and Insights speaker series for a fascinating look into the world of insects at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 16, in the college’s Luecht Auditorium, 8900 Northwest Highway, Crystal Lake.

“Insects: A Farmer’s Friend or Foe?” will be presented by MCC horticulture and agriculture instructor Rich Tobiasz.

“Insects have been evolving for 400 million years, maybe more,” said Tobiasz. “Entomologists, however, are reporting as much as a 45% decline in the numbers of insects over the past 40 years. For those who see them mostly as pests, this may be good news. Yet they are very important to worldwide ecosystems and to the food we eat.”

The session will give audience members a new perspective on the importance of insects and what we can do to help them.

Tobiasz has an MS in crop science from the University of Illinois and is a volunteer Master Gardener for the University of Illinois Extension. He teaches several classes at MCC, including Fruit and Vegetable Production, Specialty Crop Production, Intro to Soils, Plant Problem Diagnosis, and Intro to Plant Science. Tobiasz operates a small organic vegetable farm in Spring Grove, Illinois, with his wife, Wendy.

The session is free and open to the public. Registration is requested but walk-ins are welcome.

Interested participants can register and learn more at For an accommodation or sign language interpreter, contact MCC’s Access and Disability Services department at (815) 455-8766 or

The Experts and Insights series originally started in 2019 as an opportunity for the community to experience the high quality of education and expertise provided by MCC’s faculty as they present topics in their fields of study.

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