People We Love: Sarah Bergmann

Creating a pollination pathway for urban bees.
Sarah Bergmann

Artist Sarah Bergmann got a new perspective on her work when she moved to New York City. “I was painting these bucolic and gorgeous landscapes untouched by humans,” she says, “that had very little relationship to the reality that I lived in.” But reading about the decline of pollinators spurred her to think about how to use design in urban landscapes to benefit biodiversity.

Now Bergmann is creating a “Pollinator Pathway” in her hometown of Seattle. The flowery corridor runs down a street that connects a college campus to a park a mile away, enlarging the habitat for local pollinators.

Bergmann collaborates with homeowners on the street to turn the narrow parking strips that run along the sidewalk into gardens that feature pollinator-attracting and native species. Volunteers help with planting, and students monitor the ecological effect of the pathway. The result is a place where hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees convene around nodding onion blossoms and blue-eyed grass.