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Poetry Pollinators by the Santa Fe River Camino Escondido Bee Hotel

Poetry Pollinators on the Santa Fe River

Native solitary bees are beneficial creatures with no hive, no honey, and no queen, which has prompted communities nationwide to help save the bees through the placement of nesting boxes that have come to be known as "bee hotels."

Poetry Pollinators helped create the Camino Escondido Bee Hotel as a donation to the City of Santa Fe. Located along the Santa Fe River park pathway, it now serves as an open space gathering spot for personal contemplation, poetry readings, educational workshops, and public events & celebrations. The bee house integrates an educational panel and presents one poem that is curated seasonally.

This project is supported by the Santa Fe Watershed Association (SFWA), the City of Santa Fe River Commission and Parks and Recreation Department.

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West Alameda Rain Garden in Santa Fe by the Santa Fe Watershed Association

Poetry as Public Art

At no other time has it been more important to consider how we occupy and participate in our outdoor public spaces. Poetry in public space brightens spirits, amplifies a sense of shared community, and draws the attention and delight of guests from near and far.  Across the country, throughout the world, and for centuries, poets and artists have engaged public space as a foil and field for poetic epiphanies and ruminations. The Camino Escondido Bee Hotel will offer an enduring vehicle to showcase the work of New Mexico youth and adult poets and facilitate outdoor poetry events, to celebrate and support the river as a diverse eco-system that connects us as one community, sustainable across all differences and divides.


Bee hotel sculptures from around the world

El Parque del Rio and the Santa River Greenway

As a permanent public art installation, the bee hotel serves as a contribution to combating climate change, helping mend a variety of ecosystems both practically and poetically. One immediate benefit will be increasing awareness of the Santa Fe River Watershed and cultivating enjoyment of El Parque del Rio and the Santa Fe River Greenway, an ambitious City-County initiative which aims to tie together a linear park and multi-use trail system that will run along the river for fifteen miles when complete, from Patrick Smith Park to the waste water management facility.

Since being named “Most Endangered River in America” in 2007, efforts to regenerate the flow and ecosystem of the Santa Fe River were undertaken with great success and remain ongoing through the tireless work of organizations such as the Santa Fe Watershed Association and The City of Santa Fe River Commission.


There is a critical need in Santa Fe and beyond to cultivate a sense of cultural vibrancy that is tied to ecological flourishing. Poetry Pollinators responds by cultivating an ecopoetics of public space that integrates the animate life of the river corridor to awaken human awareness and inspire an ethic of care for the mutual wellbeing of all creatures.

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Santa Fe River Trail Map

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Santa Fe Watershed Association Map of Rain Gardens

Words of Support

Melissa McDonald
River and Watershed Manager
City of Santa Fe

We are excited about the potential of this project that combines environmental education and visual, functional art with the wonderful world of poetry.

Andy Otto
Executive Director (former)
Santa Fe Watershed Association

We are excited to be even marginally involved with this project and cannot endorse it enough. The Santa Fe Watershed Association pledges support and collaboration...

Adelma Aurora Hnasko
Arts Commissioner (former), Santa Fe Arts and Culture Department

I give my highest recommendations for the Poetry Pollinators on the Santa Fe River project... I look forward to witnessing this eco-poetry public art project launch,
seasonally change, and grow over time.

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