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Exploring Ecology Through Metal


 This class was offered by our sister company, Sam + Lin Designs. In collaboration with ELEVATE Youth and Penn Yan Academy, ages 13 and up were invited to this interdisciplinary weekend metal fabrication workshop. Students learned basic metal fabricating techniques while gaining a working skill set and learning the ecology of the milkweed plant and monarch butterfly.

What went on?

 The first day, students were introduced to shop safety and the ins and outs of beginner metal fabrication. Everyone started and finished a 3ft tall milkweed and monarch butterfly sculpture and were educated on how they're negatively affected by the use of pesticides, herbicides, and mowing throughout our community. 


The second day the class focused on a large-scale, collaborative sculpture of the same design.  Students worked together to cut, bend, and weld a 14ft landmark piece that is now installed at the Yates Community Center as part of the IDEA Trail.  This piece serves as an educational landmark grown out of the collective students new foundation for craft.

Check out this article in the Finger Lakes Times about this workshop:

Putting It All Together: Metal Artist Helps Youth, Adults to Create Art Trail Sculpture

by Susan Park Porter

Meet our students


Having the opportunity to work with IDEA has given me the option to be successful in a career that I have become very passionate about, and would have not experienced in traditional school.

I had no idea what I wanted to do after graduating from high school. Nothing in my normal school classes motivated or excited me, and I was struggling in school with failing grades. Things changed when I took the Exploring Ecology Through Metal course with IDEA and learned how to weld. I am so proud of the final sculpture that our class made together and that it will be on display in my hometown forever. After finishing the weekend class I instantly knew that I wanted to become a welder. But, the only way I could qualify for the welding/technology program offered at the local career tech center was to raise my grades. I became driven, highly motivated, and was able to get my grades up before completing my sophomore year. I am now a Junior and enrolled in the AME (Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering) Class at Finger Lakes Technical Career Center where I’m learning welding, CAD, and machining.

Tylor Campbell
15 years old
Exploring Ecology Through Metal

Interested in a similar workshop?

Contact us if you're interested in collaborating on a similar workshop for your classroom or group!

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