There are some new things taking flight at Sea-Tac Airport – 500,000 honey bees.
In partnership with a Seattle non-profit, the airport has installed six hives on vacant land. Like most airports, Sea-Tac has a big buffer zone of undeveloped, open space (for safety and to mitigate the noise of plane take-offs and landings) that makes a perfect home for bees.
With honey bee populations in drastic decline in the U.S., using the airport vacant land made sense, said airport officials. They partnered with the Seattle group The Common Acre which promotes healthy agriculture through small-scale, practical programs. Bees are crucial to pollinating U.S. crops and flowering plants.
Sea-Tac’s bee project, called Flight Path, is probably one of Sea-Tac’s cheapest-ever programs. This year’s budget for promoting it is $500.
Some other airports already have bee hives, including Chicago’s O’Hare and several airports in Germany which began installing hives in 1999. Sea-Tac plans to showcase the importance of bees (and its hives) with an art project opening next January in Concourse B.
“This project is a poster child for land stewardship: the habitat, the bees, and our food system all benefit,” said a statement from Bob Redmond, director of The Common Acre and the lead beekeeper at the airport. “I hope Flight Path becomes a model for other projects in the region and nationwide.”