Florida woman went out on a limb to save tree -- she married it

A Florida woman wanted to save a large ficus tree at a waterfront park, so she went out on a limb and married it.

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Karen Cooper was the happy bride Saturday at the Snell Family Park in Fort Myers, as her waterfront nuptials included flowers, music, a tree-decorated wedding cake and a dog named Little Bear that served as a ring bearer, the News-Press reported.

Cooper’s idea had its roots in a group of women who were protesting deforestation in Mexico by marrying trees, the News-Press reported.

"So I saw that and I thought, 'Oh we should marry the ficus tree’ -- kind of giggle, giggle -- but everyone said it's a really good idea, so I said, 'OK, let's do it,' " Cooper told the newspaper.

The tree became a cause last year when the city of Fort Myers began discussing cutting it down. The tree is located on city property but its roots and branches extend to a neighboring lot that was for sale.

Jeff Romer, who was contemplating buying the lot, asked city officials what his legal responsibilities were regarding the tree, the News-Press reported.

"All I was doing was my due diligence on the lot," he told the Fort Myers Beautification Advisory Board at its last meeting. "If I'm allowed to touch the tree, trim the tree, prune the tree ... because I don't want to be liable if the tree falls over onto the neighbor's house."

The city’s public works department approved the tree’s removal in December, and in February the beautification board discussed spending $13,000 to cut down the tree, the News-Press reported.

That led to Cooper’s wedding ceremony, attended by 50 witnesses. Cooper and several other women dressed in white vowed to honor and protect the tree, the News-Press reported.

In an email, Fort Myers city spokeswoman Stephanie Schaffer wrote, "The City is moving forward to save the Snell Park ficus tree. Every day City employees care for the trees and plants that give our city a sense of community and shared history."

Still, Cooper is fretting about the ficus.

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

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