Students learn about forestry, see NCAA Final Four Court tree cut down

AMASA — Students at Forest Park Schools witnessed one of the 100 trees that will be cut down to make the 2015 NCAA Men’s Final Four Court set to take place in Indianapolis.

It was all part of a program put on by Connor Sports–the company that makes the court–that taught kids about sustainability, forestry, and logging.

“Logging is a huge industry in this area and so it’s an opportunity for them to be able to see what happens with a log from here all the way to NCAA floor, which is so exciting because I don’t know that we always think how far it can go,” Forest Park superintendent Becky Waters said.

“It’s important to get the kids out here because number one, it’s an opportunity for kids from a small town to really be a part of something that’s quite large,” Connor Sports director of sustainability Jason Gasperich said. “And it’s an excellent opportunity to show them what responsible forestry looks like. This is an FSC certified forest and it doesn’t get any better that actually coming out here and learning what it’s all about.”

The tree that will be used for the Final Four Court is a northern hard maple, and comes from property owned by the Forest Park School District.

“Of the 2,000 acres the Forest Park School District owns, there’s only limited quantities of the type of tree we need to make the basketball court, so this happens to be a site that the types of trees that we need,” Gasperich said. “The tree we just cut down is a representation of trees that are used to make that court.

Forest Park schools will be following the tree on its journey to Indianapolis.  Its first stop will be to the sawmill in Florence, Wisconsin.

Waters said the event Wednesday was a once in a lifetime opportunity for not only the students, but for the Crystal Falls community.

“We are a small town, we’re a very special town,” she said, “and I’d like to say that we’re very unique because of our special smallness and we always band together.”

The district was presented with a sign to commemorate the day and will receive a piece of the tree as well.