The first Pollinator Pathway

The Pilot: Seattle’s Pollinator Pathway

Nestled in the heart of Seattle, Washington, the original Pollinator Pathway is a mile long, 12 foot wide design project—a section of a system.

Overview

Seven years in the making, the Pollinator Pathway is an iconic design project created in the city of Seattle. A mile long by 12 foot wide corridor of pollinator friendly gardens being built in planting strips, runs from 12th to 29th Avenues on Seattle’s Columbia Street.

Bergmann worked with each homeowner along the project to connect these two green spaces. She began her research on plants and pollinators in 2007, and spent several years testing and vetting them against SDOT guidelines. The project is a collaborative effort between the homeowners and the project. It requires buy-in from homeowners to adhere the program guidelines.

Connecting Two Landscapes: Nora’s Woods to Seattle University’s campus

The Columbia Street location is book-ended by two green spaces: Seattle University and a small park called Nora’s Woods. The first Pollinator Pathway draws a line of plant life between these two green spaces, connecting them with reorganized complexity.

Nora’s Woods

Nora's Woods

Just about the size of a large residential lot, Nora’s Woods is a tiny pocket woods in Seattle’s Madrona neighborhood. It was founded by a woman named Nora Wood, a Madrona resident who, with her husband Fran, preserved the location in the 1980’s. The site hosts many species of native plants, and is cared for by local residents.

Seattle University Campus

SU Campus

Seattle University has a long history with sustainable landscaping methods, and houses pollinator friendly gardens. The University’s campus has a pesticide-free maintenance program, and has many plants that native pollinators appreciate, which made it a logical choice.

The Gardens

gardens_plan

There are 20 sites on the Columbia Street Pollinator Pathway. Each garden on the project is individually funded, researched and designed. By working in partnership with our garden designer, we’ve created a coherent, unified design across the whole project. Plants on the project are primarily native, and are carefully researched for pollinator appeal, human enjoyment, city requirements, drought tolerance and ease of care. Homeowners are responsible for maintaining maintain their gardens.Through our stewardship program, we are still adding more gardens to the project. Learn how you can help fund a new site on this project.

Monitoring Program

The Pollinator Pathway works with Erin Sullivan, an entomologist and collections manager at the Woodland Park Zoo, to monitor the project. Our first monitoring effort was in 2009 with Seattle University students; since 2010, Erin has monitored the project weekly for 6 months out of the year. Our primary focus is in finding out what is visiting the Pathway, and what plants they prefer; our findings in turn help inform the design.

Living Classroom

Bergmann regularly works with students at the university level on the Pollinator Pathway. The project is the subject of classes at Seattle University, the University of Washington, and Cornish College of the Arts; classes cover systems thinking, art, whole systems design, and design thinking.

Participate in this project

There are lots of ways to participate in the Pollinator Pathway program.

  1. Join Our Gardening Days

    We invite you to join our weekly Gardening Days. Gardener and Volunteer Coordinator Lansia is out on the project every Saturday. Join her. Just send us a note at volunteer@pollinatorpathway.com and we will set you up.
  2. Become a ‘Garden Adopter’

    The perfect fit for an independent person. Garden Adopters commit to caring for one garden on the corridor on a regular basis. Typically, Garden Adopters care for a garden on a weekly basis for a six month period. Other arrangements can be made too– just drop us a note at volunteer@pollinatorpathway.com.
  3. Planting Parties

    We do bigger planting parties twice per year, in spring and fall. Sign up for our mailing list if you would like to hear about upcoming work parties as well as receive recent news. If you are not a gardener, but would to help out: sometimes we do project-related events or need a hand behind the scenes. Email us at volunteer@pollinatorpathway.com to learn more.
  4. Donate to this project

    The work of the Pollinator Pathway is made possible only through institutional grants, individual donations, and the generous support of our partners and volunteers. Make a donation