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NEWBERRY, MI - The Final Four basketball tournament may still be months away, but work on the courts started today. Students from Newberry High School got a special look at what it takes to work in the lumber industry.
It was a ceremonial and informative day as students learned about one of the U.P.'s major industries.
"Most of the people in this area can make some type of connection to working in the woods and this industry," said Cliff Fossitt, Principal of Newberry High School. "I think it's important for us to visit our history and get some information on that."
"They seem to actually be genuinely interested, which I was a little bit nervous about," said Rich Bowman, Director of Government Relations for the Nature Conservancy of Michigan. "Cutting down a tree might not be as cool as playing a video game or something like that."
According to Biewer Lumber, forests cover more than 52% of the state of Michigan. That may not seem like a lot, until you know how big a role it plays in our economy.
"Timber is the life blood of the U.P. economy and it's a $20 billion add to the economy of the state of Michigan," said Jon Fosgitt, Forester and Owner of Compass Land Consultants. "These local communities, like Newberry, depend on a sustainable source of timber for their survival."
"This is our first event of this type with the school and it's something that we really want to continue to do," said Bowman. "It's really important for us to be a good neighbor and a good member of the community."
This Upper Michigan contribution to March Madness will be the floor for the 2017 NCAA Men's and Women's Final Four.