An Urban Home for Bees, Birds and Butterflies

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Seattle resident Sarah Bergmann is working diligently on behalf of native bees, birds, and butterflies to create pockets of pollinator-friendly habitat throughout our urban environment. Sarah's recently launched project, the Pollinator Pathway, will be transforming city-owned planting strips into pollinator-friendly gardens with the hopes of igniting meaningful dialogue about the declining population of pollinators in our region.

These recent declines in population are particularly alarming given that approximately one-third of the human food supply depends on insect pollinations. Research has identified a number of contributing factors to this problem including pesticide misuse, urban/suburban development, and habitat loss. It is at once apparent that the relative size of pollinators belies how integral they are to a balanced eco-system.

The goal of the Pollinator Pathway project is to counteract some of these harmful developments by re-appropriating underutilized spaces for pollinator habitat. Effectively, resource intensive, grassy planting strips will be replaced with pollinator-friendly, pesticide free gardens, lush with native plants and trees. The result will be the creation of a series of nectar corridors for pollinators migrating through our urban landscape.

The project has garnered a broad base of community support with funding coming from Seattle's Neighborhood Matching Funds, technical assistance being provided by the City's Department of Transportation, and helping hands being offered by Nova Alternative High School students. The first demonstration garden will be planted along Columbia Street between 12th & 29th Aves, utilizing a template designed by Seattle landscape architect Sara Lawrence. This initial pathway will serve as an educational resource about pollinators and spark interest in the prospective role of urban spaces in larger ecosystems.

In the coming months, interested project participants can expect to see additional demonstration gardens and an educational website complete with garden templates for all sun exposures, a comprehensive planting list, and general information on native pollinators and their respective habitats. Sarah hopes her initial efforts will inspire residents around the City to plant pollinator-friendly gardens, thereby redefining the role of the urban landscape. Meanwhile, if you'd like to get involved or participate in the upcoming planting party on November 8th, feel free to contact Sarah at sarahb[at]drizzle[dot]com. Just remember to bring your gardening gloves and a genuine fondness for bees, birds, and butterflies!

Ashley DeForest is a Community Developer who lives in Seattle, but is involved in urban and regional planning projects throughout the Northwest. Feel free to email her at ashleyd [at] zenbe [dot] com … she's always excited to hear about an innovation in community engagement or urban development!

Photo credit: flickr/glockenblume, Creative Commons license.


This is so inspiring! It is beyond amazing to see elegant ideas turned into action. I love that this project is good for the Earth and that students are involved. Way to go, Sarah!

Posted by: Elizabeth "Frog" Uding on November 1, 2008 10:44 AM

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