Seattle City Light is partnering with the Office of Arts & Culture to work with design thinker Sarah Bergmann to develop a plan to create a Pollinator Pathway through City Light’s Creston-Duwamish transmission line right-of-way, a 60-acre, 14-mile long power line corridor stretching from south Seattle to Tukwila.
The Pollinator Pathway project is Bergmann’s response to the Anthropocene (the Age of Humankind), during which we have fundamentally altered the ecological landscape of the planet. The project is a proposal to thoughtfully and intentionally design a lasting ecological system, crossing design, culture, ecology and planning. The Pollinator Pathway challenges us to connect the current fragmentation of ecosystems with planned connections between existing green spaces, designing ecological exchange into these systems. Pollinators – the native bees, bats, butterflies, moths and more of the world – are essential and their presence is a good indicator of ecosystem health.
“The Creston-Duwamish Line restoration is an ideal incubator to demonstrate how transmission corridors can contribute to a healthier ecology,” said Rory Denovan, a senior environmental analyst for City Light. “We take great pride in being the nation’s greenest utility and we view The Pollinator Pathway’s criteria as a challenge we can meet.”
Bergmann is creating a set of criteria and principles for City Light to meet in the landscape design of the transmission line. Bergman has engaged design firm Mithun and the conservation organization Xerces Society to provide oversight and guidance as City Light works to achieve Pollinator Pathway status.
“I’m delighted to be working with Seattle City Light, Office of Arts & Culture, Mithun, and Xerces Society on this project,” said Bergmann. “It’s an incredible opportunity to prove that the Pollinator Pathway methodology is both scalable and transferrable. By contributing to an ecological system that connects the world’s landscapes, we also ease heavy dependence on the domesticated honeybee.” The Pollinator Pathway project brings together designers, planners and ecologists.
“The Pollinator Pathway pushes institutions to design as an integral part of the earth’s ecosystem,” says Bergmann. “This change in perspective will have a profound impact as agencies like Seattle City Light focus on long-term plans that create a foundation and new standard for supporting ecological exchange and biodiversity in the world we see today. Participants in the Pollinator Pathway are contributing to a new ecosystem in a global story about nature in our time. I view this as a cultural story—and a scientific one. The Pollinator Pathway challenges us to connect fragmented landscape in a response to the Anthropocene—a newly proposed epoch where all of earth’s systems have been touched by humanity. Nature is not “over there”—it is us.”