Woman marries tree to keep it from being cut down

Posted at 6:23 AM, Mar 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-28 06:23:13-04

FORT MYERS, FL (WINK/CNN) – A Florida woman has pledged “‘til death do us part” to a 100-year-old tree that the city was thinking about cutting down in order to protest the move.

Despite the cake and flowers, Karen Cooper’s wedding was more than your average affair.

"I told other people if they cut this tree down, I'm going to be a widow,” the bride said.

Cooper held a ceremony Saturday to marry a 100-year-old Ficus tree in Snell Family Park in Fort Myers, FL. Last year, the city began discussing cutting the tree down to make way for a new home to be built on the land.

Though Cooper and the tree didn’t exchange rings, what was important were their vows.

"Vowing to protect and preserve and celebrate this tree,” Cooper said.

The man who wants to build the home claims he never wanted the tree to be cut down, and a spokesperson for the city says officials are moving forward to save the tree.

“Every day city employees care for the trees and plants that give our city a sense of community and shared history,” said the city in a statement.

Cooper says her goal with the wedding was to get her neighbors to attend the city’s beautification advisory board Tuesday.

"I'm not a whack job. I need people to come to that meeting tomorrow, and if I have to marry a tree to do so, then I will,” she said.

At the Tuesday meeting, the board voted not to remove the tree, but it will be trimmed and reduced by 30 percent. The board says this will make it more manageable and help it withstand more hurricanes in the future.

Copyright 2018 WINK, Karen Cooper via CNN. All rights reserved.