New Bee Art and Education Exhibit takes flight at Sea-Tac Airport


The Port of Seattle, in collaboration with local non-profit The Common Acre, on Tuesday (June 17) unveiled a new bee art and education exhibit designed to educate and inspire travelers about the importance of pollinators at Sea-Tac Airport.

National Pollinator Week is this week, designated by the U.S. Senate to bring awareness to the rapid decline of pollinators. Last year, the port and The Common Acre partnered to bring 18 honeybee hives to Sea-Tac to promote hardy bee populations.

Flight Path explores bees and flight through a variety of mediums including paintings, blown glass and a mosaic, featuring works by 24 Northwest artists.

“As a leader in environmental innovation for our region and the aviation industry, we’re pleased to partner with The Common Acre in a unique effort to champion pollinators, like the honeybee,” said Port of Seattle Wildlife Manager Steve Osmek. “The exhibit celebrates pollinators and helps create awareness about the airport’s program to increase the genetic diversity of bees.”

For the second year in a row, the Port of Seattle is collaborating with The Common Acre to host 1.5 million honeybees in 24 hives on unused vacant land near the runways. Sea-Tac was one of the first airports in the country to host an apiary.

“We’re excited to expand our project from the airfield to the terminal to let people know about the amazing things bees do,” said Bob Redmond, director of The Common Acre and lead beekeeper at Sea-Tac. “The parallels between bees and planes really resonate. Like aircraft, bees have complex communication and navigation systems. The waggle dance, like the control tower talking to pilots, communicates to fellow workers at the hive where the best sources of nectar and pollen can be found.”

Photo courtesy of Rod Hatfield.

With open space around the airfield and bee populations in decline, Sea-Tac is uniquely suited to host honeybees.  The Runway Protection Zone, a vacant area located next to the runway to keep people and property safe, is an ideal place to house honeybees. The long-term goal of the pollinator conservation program is to protect bee populations in the region by improving genetic diversity and supporting them with adequate habitat.

The program has yielded 24 queen bees for use in Northwest apiaries — and 300 pounds of honey. Honeybees at Sea-Tac contribute to the port’s local conservation efforts at the airport’s wetland mitigation sites, where nearly 150,000 plantings and other restorative projects have been underway since 2007.

Bees pollinate about a third of all edible U.S. crops, provide a regional benefit and further the Port’s goal of helping the local economy through a robust agriculture industry and related jobs.

The exhibit is located pre-security outside of the B gates exit.

Curated by Kate Fernandez, the installation features work by Joey Veltkamp, Kristen Ramirez, Sean Alexander, L. Kelly Lyles, Jed  Dunkerley, Scott Schuldt, Celeste Cooning, Julie Haack, Chelsea Trousdale, Sarah Kavage, Rob  Zverina, David Lasky, Emilie Bess, Rod Hatfield, Jameson Hubbard, Kate Jessup, Chris Stern, Tim Stackpole, Amy Redmond, Nancy Callan and Colleen Monette.

For more information on Sea-Tac’s comprehensive program on wildlife management, go to the port’s website.


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