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Forest Park (Kids 12 & Under)

at "Wildman" Steve Brill - Kew Gardens

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Kew Gardens, Queens
Union Turnpike & Park Ln Near the Parks Dept.'s Overlook Bldg
At Jackie Robinson Pkwy
New York, New York 11415
Ticket Price is for Kids only. Accompanying Adult tickets are Sold separately.
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Class Level: All levels
Age Requirements: 7 - 12 years old
Average Class Size: 35

Flexible Reschedule Policy: This provider has flexible, free rescheduling for any-in person workshop. Please see the cancellation policy for more details

What you'll learn in this other kids camp class:

Forest Park is one of the best places for foragers in mid-spring. Get lost in this vast park, and you'll have plenty to eat (that is, if you can distinguish the gourmet plants from the deadly ones.) It boasts a large, mature, secondary growth forest, trail edges, thickets, and cultivated areas—all overflowing with wild plants.

Burdock, an expensive detoxifying herb sold in health food stores, for example, abounds near the playgrounds we'll be passing after we begin the tour. The cooked root tastes like a smoky combination of potatoes and artichokes, and you can use the immature stems like artichokes too. 

Another root vegetable, sweet cicely, grows deeper in the park. Its roots taste like black licorice, outstanding in desserts, or in grain or bean dishes. Sassafras also grows in the woods, on hillsides, and along edge habitats. It tastes like root beer, which you make from the taproots. You can also use it for brewing a delicious, detoxifying tea, and as a cinnamon-like seasoning. In addition, the puréed young leaves will provide the thickener for making gumbos.

The black birch tree, of birch beer fame, is a common forest tree that tastes like wintergreen. The twigs, which you can chew, make a delicious non-steroidal anti-inflammatory herb tea that contains natural salycilates, natural forerunners of aspirin. In cell cultures, salicylates inhibit the growth of breast cancer and prostate cancer cells, so drinking the tea might reduce your risk of breast cancer or prostate cancer, but, for some reason, not both! You can also thicken, season, and sweeten the tea to make black birch Jello, or use the twigs as the main flavoring for Stick Pudding!

Everyone will also find plenty of leafy green vegetables, such as chickweed, which tastes like corn, Asiatic dayflower, which tastes like string beans, pungent garlic mustard roots with their garlicky leaves, mild-flavored violets, piquant greenbrier leaves and shoots, plus spicy field garlic and hedge mustard.

Other spring shoots will be available too. We'll look for asparagus-flavored Devil'swalkingstick shoots, plus Japanese knotweed, with a sour flavor akin to it's relative, rhubarb. It's loaded with vitamin C, as well as resveratrol, which reduces the risk of heart disease. With lots of rain and a bit of luck, gourmet chicken mushrooms and dryad's saddle will also be emerging from dead trees, logs, and stumps. We'll be so busy foraging, the four hours will be gone before you know it!

Meeting location is at the stone wall at Union Turnpike and Park Lane, near the Parks Dept.'s Overlook building, 8030 Park Lane, in Kew Gardens, not at the Woodhaven side of the park.

October 10, 2020

This is one of the best places in the world for fall foraging, with a wide selection of wild herbs, greens, roots, nuts, and mushrooms. Habitats include miles of mature forest as well as the trail edges and the disturbed, overgrown, and cultivated habitats that provide homes for many diverse species.

Behind a playground near our starting point, we'll find a large stand of burdock, delicious, but hard to dig up. Here it's growing in loose, soft soil, so it's much more accessible than usual. Use it in soups, stews, rice, or Japanese dishes, or turn it into "Wildman's" Vegan Beef Jerky.

Another choice root vegetable is sweet cicely, which tastes like black licorice. This one's easy to unearth, and there's so much in Forest Park, you can't harm the habitat by collecting reasonable quantities.

Herbs and greens we'll be looking for include sassafras, the original source of root beer; black birch, which contains oil of wintergreen, garlic mustard, with garlicky leaves and horseradish-flavored roots; honewort, with leaves that taste like parsley, carrots, and celery; and onion/garlic-flavored field garlic.

The forest is one of the best for mushrooms, We'll be looking for mid-fall fungi such as giant puffballs, pear-shaped puffballs, honey mushrooms, shaggy manes, hen of the woods, oyster mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, brick tops, and tree ears.


  • Participants should be dressed for the weather, and be aware of very bad subway service.
  • Trains are often cancelled due to track work. No sandals (there are mosquitoes, thorns and poison ivy).
  • Everyone should have plastic bags for veggies and herbs, paper bags for mushrooms, which spoil in plastic, containers for berries from late spring through fall, water and lunch, and extra layers when it's cold.
  • Digging implements and pocket knives are optional. Dogs are permitted.
  • Children are encouraged to attend.
  • There's no smoking whatsoever at any time.

Children are encouraged to attend my tours and learn more about the planet they inhabit. If people own well-behaved dogs, they’re welcome on the tours too. (Mosquitoes and ticks are not welcome!)

School Notes:
If you can't attend the class you signed up for, please call or email "Wildman" Steve Brill a day before the start of the class. No-call/no-show creates an inconvenience to all participants since we can’t tell if absentees are having transportation issues, and this delays the start of the tour/class.

Kindly note that price posted is our suggested donation only.

Still have questions? Ask the community.

Refund Policy
Participants can cancel the night before an event and get a refund.


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Question from Anonymous
Hello! Can a parent accompany a kid?
Answer from Jenn C. CourseHorse StaffCourseHorse Staff
Hi! Yes, parents may accompany kids but need to signup as an adult registrant. For help in booking this class, please feel free to reach out and we'll be glad to assist!
Answer from Anonymous
Thank you so much!!!
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Reviews of Classes at "Wildman" Steve Brill (90)

School: "Wildman" Steve Brill

Foraging expert Steve Brill has shared his foraging wisdom at schools, museums, parks departments, environmental organizations, and with scout troops since 1982. He’s written three books and an app, stars in a DVD and maintains a website.

His History with Foraging 
As part of his exercise regime,...

Read more about "Wildman" Steve Brill

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