What's Buzzing at the Burke?

Photo: Rachel Ormiston/Burke Museum
Photo: Rachel Ormiston/Burke Museum

portrait of gabriela chavarria in the burke museumportrait of bellamy palithorp









Join us for a special, interview-style conversation as we welcome the new Executive Director of the Burke Museum, Dr. Gabriela Chavarria. KNKX Environmental Journalist Bellamy Pailthorp will learn more about What's Buzzing at the Burke, from Dr. Chavarria's research on bumble bees to the future of educational programs and institutional research.

Dr. Gabriela Chavarria serves as the Executive Director of the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. In this role, Dr. Chavarria carries forward the Burke's mission to care for and share natural and cultural collections so all people can learn, be inspired, generate knowledge, feel joy, and heal. 

Prior to the Burke, she served as the VP and Chief Curator, Science Division, at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Previously, she was senior science advisor and forensic science branch chief at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife National Forensics Laboratory. Dr. Chavarria received her bachelor’s degree in biology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and her master’s and Ph.D. in organismic and evolutionary biology from Harvard University.

Growing up in Mexico City, Dr. Chavarria developed a passion for nature and science at an early age, especially for bees. She has devoted her career to the conservation of native pollinators, especially bumble bees. Her recent work as a wood anatomist focused on fighting the illegal trafficking of tropical hardwoods. Dr. Chavarria has conducted research in more than 30 countries throughout the world and sits on numerous boards and advisory councils, including the American Institute of Biological Sciences, the National Parks Conservation Association, Defenders of Wildlife, The Nature Conservancy of Colorado, and the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment beat from the Seattle offices of KNKX Public Radio News, where she has worked since 1999. She also has a deep interest in indigenous affairs and the Salish Sea. She holds a Masters in journalism from New York's Columbia University, where she completed the Knight-Bagehot fellowship in business reporting in 2006 mid-career during her stint on KNKX’s Business and Labor Beat from 2000-2012.

From 1989-98 she lived in Berlin, Germany freelancing for NPR and working as a bi-lingual producer for Deutsche Welle TV after receiving a Fulbright scholarship in 1989 for a project on theater studies and communist history. She holds a Bachelors’ degree in German language and literature from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. (Yes, she is fluent in German.)

She strives to tell memorable stories about how we will power our future while maintaining healthy cultures and livable cities. Character-driven narratives of exploration and innovation excite her.

Photos: Gabriela Chavarria, Timothy Kenney/Burke Museum; Bellamy Pailthorp, courtesy Bellamy Pailthorp.

Date & Time

Thursday, May 5, 2022
5 PM

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