A woman climbs a tree to save it from the chainsaws

Emalyn Mercer didn’t hesitate Wednesday morning when she woke to the sound of chainsaws outside her home.

When she realized the city of Key West workers were there to cut down a pair of mother-in-law’s tongue trees at 701 Catherine St., at the homeowner’s request she did what she believed was the next right thing.

“I climbed up in the tree in my pajamas,” Mercer said. Her husband brought her a ladder, which she used to make the climb.

There she sat for at least two hours and by the day’s end, the chainsaws were gone. But Mercer expects them to return.

City officials said the homeowner obtained permits to remove the trees due to damage the uplifted roots are doing to her property.

Mercer said, “There is nothing wrong with these two trees. They provide the most wonderful shade and the smell of flowers is wonderful.”

But her tree sit-in protest was about more than the pair of trees on Catherine Street. Mercer says Key West is too trigger-happy when it comes to chopping down trees.

“This is about all the trees that have been cut down on this island in the past four to five months,” Mercer said.

“I don’t think this will do any good,” she said. “We just need to draw attention to all the trees that are being cut down. We’re going to have no shade. I understand a sick tree, one leaning or damaged. These are two perfectly healthy trees.”