Woman marries 100-year-old tree in hopes of saving it from being cut down

A 100-year-old ficus tree that stands as a focal point of a local park in Fort Myers, Florida, has a bride.

Karen Cooper, 60, wed the tree during a community event on March 24 at the Snell Family Park as part of a neighborhood effort to save the tree from being cut down.

“When I heard the city was planning to cut it down, I was like, ‘I don’t think so,'” Cooper, who has been living in Fort Myers for nearly 40 years, told ABC News. “I’m just having fun with something very serious.”

The city approved a request from a developer to have the tree removed, according to a spokesperson from the Fort Myers Public Works Office.

“We lost so many trees in Hurricane Irma and for them to cut one down on purpose is terrible,” she added. “And this tree is fabulous.”

The tree’s 8,000-foot canopy extends into a neighboring lot that’s for sale for $ 1 million.

“The tree is the focal point of a very sweet neighborhood park, and without it, the park would just be a vacant lot,” she said. “People get married at this park… but I married the tree.”

Cooper said she was inspired by stories of women in Mexico who wed trees to protest deforestation.

“The ceremony was meant to encourage residents of the subdivision to come to city hall on Tuesday to show support for saving the tree,” she explained.

As many as 80 people from the neighborhood came out to the ceremony and there was music, flowers, and food, Cooper said.

Cooper was walked down a makeshift aisle to stand in front of the tree by her maid of honor and friend, Ann Cason, and her ring bearer, a dog named Little Bear.

Though there was no actual ring or priest present, the vows were read by the event’s disc jockey and the community celebrated with tree-decorated wedding cake.

“We all stood there, made a vow to protect the tree, then cake and mimosas,” she said about the ceremony. “It was tree-mondous.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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