The Pollinator Pathway

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The Pollinator Pathway
Formationc. 2008
FounderSarah Bergmann
Volunteer planters and garden adopters (c. 20 gardens as of 2014)

The Pollinator Pathway is a participatory art, design and ecology social sculpture[1] initiative founded by the artist and designer Sarah Bergmann. Its objective is to connect existing isolated green spaces and create a more hospitable urban environment for pollinators like bees with a system of ecological corridors of flowering plants by using existing urban infrastructure such as curb space and rooftops.


The Columbia Street pollinator pathway segment near downtown Seattle, Washington runs east-west from Nora's Woods to Seattle University. A planned extension connects north to Volunteer Park.
Pollinator pathway native flower plot

The first pollinator pathway (47°36′33.60″N 122°18′26.40″W / 47.6093333°N 122.3073333°W / 47.6093333; -122.3073333) is located on Seattle, Washington's east-west Columbia Street, and connects Seattle University's campus on 12th Avenue to Nora's Woods on 29th Avenue one mile (1.6 km) away, crossing one third of Seattle's width.[2][3] A second 1.5-mile (2.4 km) long official pollinator pathway is slated for Seattle's north-south 11th Avenue, connecting Seattle University's campus to Volunteer Park.[4][5]

The first segment of the pathway on Columbia Street, which Bergmann received grants from the City of Seattle, Northwest Horticultural Society, and Awesome Foundation to create,[6][7] replaced a 108-foot (33 m) long, 12-foot (3.7 m) grass strip between the street and sidewalk with plants that could attract pollinators.[8][9] The pathways are composed of individual plots of perennial native plant species on city-owned property, tended by local volunteers.[9][10][notes 1]

Bergmann had a related installation, Portal to The Pollinator Pathway, at Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Sculpture Park in 2012.[notes 2] In 2014, she made presentations on the project at Frye Art Museum and Seattle Tilth.[12][13]


Since late 2013, Bergmann has offered a certification program for new pathways to use the trademarked Pollinator Pathway name.[14]

Other cities[edit]

Cities other than Seattle have explored the idea of connecting landscapes for pollinators. In 2008, about the same time the Seattle project was getting under way, the Canadian Pollination Initiative wrote a paper on a "pollinator park" concept to include "...right-of-way passages, including highways, power lines, gas lines and other maintained corridors can be designed in such a way that they serve as pollinator habitats."[15]

In 2011, a New York author and artist Aaron Birk wrote an illustrated story, The Pollinator's Corridor, about a pathway connecting the city's landscape.[16]

City–citizen discussions[edit]

Several cities have used official means to initiate citizen discussions on their own pollinator pathways following Seattle's model, including Redmond, Washington; the Niagara Falls, New York area; and Los Angeles, California via the mayor's blog.[17][18][19][20]


In 2012, Bergmann received The Stranger's Genius Award and Seattle Art Museum's Betty Bowen Award for the project.[21][22] In 2013, she was named one of Seattle's most influential people of the year by Seattle Magazine, along with recipients of the award who had created other Seattle area pollinator conservation projects.[23]


  1. ^ "[T]he artist works with each homeowner along the Pathway, as well as with designers, entomologists, botanists, landscape designers, urban planners, students and a host of volunteers". (Seattle Art Museum [SAM])[11]
  2. ^ Described by SAM as "[a] garden containing native plants that attract pollinators such as bees, birds, and butterflies ... [that] provides a glimpse of a much more ambitious project".[11]


  1. ^ Paul Constant, Jen Graves, Charles Mudede, David Schmader (June 23, 2014), "In Culture News: New Shabazz Palaces, New Art and Cultural Center in Pioneer Square, and a New Pollinator Pathway", The StrangerCS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  2. ^ Eran Afner (October 2010), "Scoop: Seattle's Pollinator Pathway", Seattle Magazine
  3. ^ Theo Schell-Lambert (July 4, 2010), "Pollinator Pathway: Vital Ecology in the Emerald City", Good
  4. ^ Atoosa Moinzadeh (June 25, 2014), "Pollinator pathway scheduled to span along 11th Avenue", Capitol Hill Times, Seattle, Washington
  5. ^ Elissa Favero (August 5, 2014), "Mapping Desire Lines: From Richard Long's Walks to the Sinewy Paths of Smell", ARCADE
  6. ^ Ann LeVasseur (Summer 2012), Judy Redmond (ed.), ed., Garden Notes, Northwest Horticultural Society: 3, The pathway starts at Seattle University on 12th Avenue and stretches for a mile along Columbia Street to 29th Avenue where it ends at Nora’s Woods, a native plants park. The neighborhood parking strips are being replaced with pollinator-friendly gardens of mostly native plants. To date, 12 gardens have been planted. The $2,500 grant from NHS will fund another garden. Missing or empty |title= (help); |contribution= ignored (help)CS1 maint: Extra text: editors list (link)
  7. ^ The Pollinator Pathway, Awesome Foundation, April 2012
  8. ^ Lynda V. Mapes (August 26, 2009), "Native bees play bigger role as honeybees decline: Native pollinators such as bumblebees are gaining new appreciation as European honeybees, the pollination mainstay of commercial agriculture, continue to struggle.", The Seattle Times
  9. ^ a b Regina Hackett (October 31, 2008), "Art as landscape: The Pollinator Pathway", Seattle Post-Intelligencer
  10. ^ Valerie Easton (January 29, 2011), "Cultivating a healthier Seattle, one garden at a time: The fate of our food supply depends on how hospitable our gardens are to pollinators.", Pacific Northwest magazine, The Seattle Times
  11. ^ a b Exhibit: Sarah Bergmann: Portal to the Pollinator Pathway, Seattle Art Museum, June 27 – September 16, 2012
  12. ^ "Community + Family Day", Events calendar, Frye Art Museum, August 2, 2014
  13. ^ "Seattle Residents Share Their Urban Farms with the Public for One Day: Seattle Tilth Offers 14th Chicken Coop & Urban Farm Tour on July 12", Press release, Seattle Tilth Association, Jun 18, 2014
  14. ^ Sarah Bergmann (2014), "Certification", Pollinator Pathway website
  15. ^ Marianna Horn (March 2008), Pollinator Park: The Pathway to Pollination Protection (Pollinator Workshops, March 7th & 8th, 2008, Guelph, ON) (PDF), Canadian Pollination Initiative
  16. ^ Aaron Birk (January 1, 2011), The Pollinator's Corridor (First ed.), Black Willow Productions, ISBN 0615562914
  17. ^ Seattle Department of Neighborhoods "front porch" blog
  18. ^ C. Dociu (May 24, 2012), "Pollinator Pathways to Support Sustainability", Impact Redmond blog, City of Redmond
  19. ^ Submitted by Wild Ones Niagara (2011), Pollinator Pathway Niagara Falls (PDF), Niagara River Greenway Commission, p. 16
  20. ^ LA Mayor blog
  21. ^ Jen Graves, "Sarah Bergmann: 2012 Genius Award Winner for Art", The Stranger
  22. ^ Tom Fucoloro (September 21, 2012), "Artist behind Columbia Street's Pollinator Pathway honored by SAM, the Stranger", Central District News
  23. ^ "The Full List: Most Influential People of 2013", Seattle Magazine, November 2013, Lauren England, West Seattle Bee Garden; Sarah Bergmann; Pollinator Pathway, Bob Redmond, Urban Bee Company; Corky Luster, Ballard Bee Company

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]