Students in the carpentry program at Nashoba Technical Valley High School in Westford, Massachusetts, are learning to build not only furniture, but also a cleaner environment.

The New England high school's carpentry and cabinetmaking program has entered this year's eighth annual Eco-Carpentry Challenge. This challenge promotes resourcefulness and recycling, and provides students with a creative opportunity to develop their carpentry skills.

Sponsored by Boston based non-profit The Furniture Trust, carpentry students across Mass. take used office furniture supplied by the trust and re-purpose it into new furniture. There are no design requirements or themes. The contest encourages teams of up-and-coming carpenters to be unrestricted in their creativity.

When finished, Nashoba Tech's project will be brought to Boston's District Hall. Each project from the ten participating schools will be on display in District Hall on Thursday, May 10th. Here, a panel of judges consisting of industry professionals will review the finalists and present monetary awards.

According to Johnathan Pryor, one of NTVHS's carpentry instructors, "They take all this old office furniture and, rather than landfill it, they have carpentry students re-purpose it for non-profit organizations."

Pryor said that this is the first time the school has entered this contest. He expects this to expand beyond his program and include the Automotive Technology, Automotive Collision Repair & Refinishing, and Advanced Manufacturing students.

"We'll try and collaborate as much as we can and get other programs involved. This seems like a real worthwhile project."