Women Marry Historic Tree to Prevent City from Cutting It Down

Two women from Florida tried to prevent a historic tree from being cut down by the city. They held a big wedding and 'married' the ficus, then complained that if the city kills their husband, they'll be widows. Somehow, it worked. City officials are now trying to save the tree.

The tree is located in the Snell Family Park in Fort Meyers, Florida, where it has been growing for over a century. The large, beautiful ficus was in danger when the city attempted to sell off an adjoining lot of property.

The tree had grown so big that the roots were spreading into the $1 million property, threatening to thwart the deal.

In December, city officials began plans to remove the tree. The Beautification Board agreed with officials, and granted $13,000 toward the efforts to cut down the tree and replace it with smaller trees.

People in the community who loved the old historic tree were outraged. Karen Cooper and Dana Foglesong were two in particular who were willing to fight to save the tree. They employed some rather unconventional methods to do so: they married the tree.

Cooper and Foglesong were inspired after reading about women in Mexico who were marrying trees. The efforts were to raise awareness of the deforestation problems. The two Florida woman thought it was worth a try.

"So I saw that and I thought, 'Oh we should marry the ficus tree," said Cooper, according to the Daily Mail. "kind of giggle, giggle - but everyone thought it's a really good idea, so I said, 'OK. Let's do it.'"

With that, Cooper, Foglesong and other tree supporters began planning a wedding. It took place in the park around the tree, with approximately 50 witnesses. After the ceremony, the brides posed in their gowns with their groom.

A wedding cake, decorated with a tree and the words 'Higher Love', was served at the reception.

Councilman Fred Burson was one of the wedding guests. The Ward 5 councilman had vowed to save the tree, and was willing to participate if it would help prevent it from being cut down.

"'If we don't get it settled at the Beautification Board meeting, I'll take it to the City Council," he said, posing for photos with his family by the tree.

Surprisingly, the women's devout love for their 'husband' touched some of the other city council members. A spokesperson for the city told the Review-Journal that officials have had a change of heart. They're now working on efforts to preserve the tree.

"Every day city employees care for the trees and plants that give our city a sense of community and shared history," the spokesperson said.

Even though the city officials seem to be coming around, Cooper is still worried that they won't pull through. She's worried that after all the efforts, the tree might still be destroyed.

"If they cut down this tree, I'm going to be a widow," she told the News-Press.

Thankfully, though, things are looking up. The city sprang for a tree surgeon to come in and do an examination of the century-old tree. According to reports, the tree would most likely survive pruning the roots.

Source: Daily Mail
Photos: MNN, WFMY, Longroom

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