Woodworking Student Greg Earthman ’22 Takes Environmental Action

Stacey Zhang '22, Contributor

GEORGETOWN, SC—Inspired by Woodworking I, Loomis Chaffee junior Greg Earthman began a yearlong investigation of the environmental impact of the Carolina Reaper in Georgetown, where there has been a long tradition of woodworking craftsmanship since 3 B.C.
“Mr. Peterson has taught me to reach for the world. He has taught me that woodworking is not simply safety glasses and spending half of the class cleaning up and wearing sweatpants in the RAC—it’s an art form that connects to other civilizations and allows us to understand their cultural identities in a global context,” Greg passionately commented.
“Wood is more complex than most people think,” Mr. Peterson remarked, “the texture, color, shape, all combine into the unique profile of a piece of wood to tell a powerful story of its origin.”
This was precisely how Greg learned about the environmental impact of planting Carolina Reapers.
Covering different wood profiles from various US regions, Mr. Peterson mentioned the frantic stripe patterns of Georgetown wood, which immediately intrigued Greg. After conducting extensive research, Greg learned that the spicy molecules of the Carolina Reapers in nearby pepper farms have largely stirred the mood of wood during growth.
“I mean, I would have gone frantic too from that level of spice,” Greg lamented.
Greg immediately got to work. He started several campaigns on social media, marketing hashtags #BringBackGoodWood and #NoMoreReaper, and he plans to film and interview local wood craftsmen and Carolina Reaper farmers.
“I’m exceedingly grateful for Woodworking I with Mr. Peterson. I went in class expecting to make a wooden slingshot but came out of the class as an environmentally-aware and socially responsible citizen.” Greg said.
Despite his classmates’ disappointment of not making a slingshot, they shared the sentiment of global understanding. Looking into the future, Greg hopes to spread awareness of environmental issues surrounding wood and to continue to take classes outside of his comfort zone.