How it Started

How it Started

Founded by Sarah Bergmann in late 2007, the Pollinator Pathway is an interdisciplinary design project created by Bergmann to research and respond to a broader story about nature in our time.

The Pollinator Pathway reimagines and redesigns our relationship with ecological and urban systems in what is termed the Anthropocene, or Age of Humankind. Bergmann designed the project as a place to study and respond to the widespread topics of landscape, ranging from urbanism to wilderness systems, that the Pollinator Pathway touches.

New Audubon – the Book

The Pollinator Pathway was built as a response to, and exploration, of landscape in our time. Much of the thinking and work behind this project will be reflected in a large format visual (illustrated, painted, and designed) book that is being developed simultaneously with the project, that reflects Bergmann’s research and work on the Pollinator Pathway, covering human systems and the natural world in a time of vast global change. The size of the book– 2’x3’– is a direct nod to Audubon. In Audubon’s time, there were enough passenger pigeons to fill a sky as far as the eye could see, for days, and now a number of the birds in his classic book, The Birds of America, are going extinct. Not unlike an explorer naturalist, Bergmann has used this project as a stand-in for larger scale thinking about the world– observing and documenting, while making a new pattern for its future. By participating in the project, you also become part of this larger vision.


Photo: image from book, of how many blueberries a grizzly bear eats in one hour.

The Original Project

Bergmann developed the original Pollinator Pathway as an iconic design project for the city of Seattle– a mile long corridor that connects Seattle University’s campus to a small woods called Nora’s Woods. Developed by Bergmann as a site of study and a platform from which to consider broader ideas of ecology, social perceptions of nature, and human systems, the project merges landscape, design thinking, and Bergmann’s research and creative work.

Bergmann worked with thousands of people in the community. Approximately 1500 volunteers and students have participated in the Seattle project, and hundreds more have participated in the project in other ways—through monitoring work, speaking—and the many scientists and planners who have helped to realize this project.

More about the Pilot Pathway


The Pollinator Pathway has been exhibited in several cultural venues.

Upcoming: Genius Exhibition at the Frye Art Museum, 2015

A large-scale exhibition celebrating interdisciplinary and collaborative practice in Seattle and Washington State in the first decades of the twenty-first century.

Portal to the Pollinator Pathway, Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle, 2012

Bergmann was commissioned to create an installation at the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park. Working with design collaborators Studio Matthews and architect/builder team Jake Labarre and Nicole Abercrombie, the exhibition was installed at the Park from June 2012 to January 2013. The Portal to the Pollinator Pathway was a ‘section’ of the project and an explanation of the thinking behind it. The ‘Portal’ was then planted into the Pathway in spring of 2013.

Pollinator Pathway Exhibition, Seattle Art Museum, 2012-2013

In conjunction with the Betty Bowen Award: an exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum.



Bergmann has partnered with multiple agencies and groups to elaborate and expand on the ideas around the Pollinator Pathway:

  • -A long standing collaboration with Studio Matthews
  • -Seattle University – College of Science and Engineering, and the College of Arts and Sciences
  • -The University of Washington – School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences