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Bee boulevard: How to turn an urban corridor into a haven for native pollinators | Grist

English: Amber Flush rose - Bagatelle Rose Gar...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I couldn’t stay away for long, could I?

I thought this was an interesting article about actively creating space in urban environments to promote biodiversity and making our lives as humans healthier (more bees means more flowers, fruits and veggies), and it just so happens to make the space prettier and more enjoyable visually as well.

Several years ago, Sarah Bergmann, a painter by training, started asking questions about the fate of the world’s pollinators. And while she’s not an environmentalist per se, Bergmann’s art and graphic design work never stray far from the environmental sphere. To her, the complex and shifting relationships between pollinators and plants have always begged further investigation. Bergmann’s response to what she learned is a work-in-progress called the Pollinator Pathway, a mile-long corridor of pollinator-friendly, mostly native plants stretching between two green spaces in the heart of Seattle.

Bergmann chose the pathway’s two endpoints — the Seattle University campus and a lot-sized forest called Nora’s Woods — for their diverse plant life and lack of pesticides. Since building the first test garden in 2008 with the help of a small city grant, she and hundreds of volunteers have installed 16 more gardens in parking strips along the way. “It’s not just a random line of plants; it’s meant to find two existing green spaces within the city and draw a line between them,” she says.

Gardens are built with the cooperation and enthusiasm of homeowners on the corridor, who have also agreed to maintain them. They must be drought-tolerant, pesticide free, and, ideally, contain at least 70 percent native plants — though Bergmann says the project hasn’t quite hit that target yet. And of course, the plants must be appealing to bees and other pollinators. These requirements, combined with city height restrictions for parking-strip vegetation, led to a list of about 50 plants that can be part of the pathway.

Biologists have been promoting migration corridors for mammals and birds for decades, so why not bees? Gardening is also a fun, playful activity for many people, and the idea that they’re helping out something else in return is also satisfying.

Find out more about creating bee corridors via Bee boulevard: How to turn an urban corridor into a haven for native pollinators | Grist.