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Inwood Hill Park (Kids 12 & Under)

Explore the wilderness with your child under 12! In Inwood Hill Park, discover a treasure trove of edible roots like burdock and sassafras, perfect for culinary adventures. From wild carrots to oyster mushrooms, it's a day of foraging and learning amidst nature's bounty.

  • All levels
  • 1 - 12 years old
  • $10
  • Earn 10% Rewards
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  • Broadway & Dyckman St, New York, NY
  • 4 hours

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  • $10/person
  • 4 hours
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Class Description


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

Inwood Hill Park is one of the best places for foraging in late fall. The city's hilliest park, with a large, mature forest, meadows, thickets, and cultivated areas, it's loaded with wild plants, even in late fall.

This is the time to search for roots. Here are some we'll be finding: Burdock, an invasive, Eurasian, expensive, detoxifying herb sold in health food stores, abounds in human-disturbed areas throughout the park. Scrub the root, slice razor-thin diagonally, and cook in moist heat 15 to 20 minutes or until tender. It's fantastic.The root is great in soups, stews, rice dishes, or for making the Japanese delicacy, kinpira gobo. You can also marinate and bake it, to make the "Wildman's" Vegan Beef Jerky.

Sassafras root, the original source of root beer, is a sure find. You can use it to make beverages such as tea or root beer, or as an exotic-tasting, cinnamon-like seasoning.

The black birch tree, on the other hand, contains oil of wintergreen, and provides the raw material for birch beer. You can freshen your breath by chewing on the twigs, or use them to make tea or birch beer. A strong tea provides non-steroidal anti-inflammatory aspirin-like compounds, good for pain and inflammation (it's used in commercial massage liniments). It’s also fantastic for seasoning puddings.

Violet Brill Enjoying Black Birch

Black birch contains oil of wintergreen or methyl salicylate, a natural forerunner of aspirin, that's also very tasty, making it the best home remedy for teething.

Another root the group will look for is the tuber of the hog peanut, a legume with a flavor akin to raw peanuts.

There are still more roots to seek. Near the park's summit, an overgrown area conceals wild carrots, a tastier version of the familiar garden vegetable, with a light beige taproot. 

Peppery-sweet common evening primrose roots sometimes grow nearby. You can purchase a prostaglandin-rich oil pressed from the seeds in health food stores for PMS and other ailments, but you can't beat the root in soups, stews, and grain or bean dishes.

Pepper sedum is an unusual herb, often used as an ornamental, that grows on bare rock at the edge of a precipice. A tropical plant without the ability to die back in the winter, it's in season all year, and grows where it does because it needs the heat the sun-baked rock provides in the summer to reproduce. The plant tastes somewhat like black pepper, and makes an excellent seasoning in any savory dish.

Everyone will also find plenty of leafy green vegetables and herbs on this tour, since plants that tolerate the cold abound in this park. We'll be finding chickweed, which tastes like corn, parsley-flavored goutweed, resinous epazote, bitter-savory dandelion greens, pungent garlic mustard (which also has a delicious horseradish-flavored taproot), spicy field garlic, with delicious leaves and bulbs, lemony-flavored curly dock, and wild lettuce, only good in the cold weather.

Even though it's too late for most mushrooms, there are some species that don't mind the cold, and they grow here. With lots of rain beforehand, and some luck, we could find oyster mushrooms, tree ears, and enoki mushrooms.

Meeting Location:

In the Anne Loftus Playground in Ft. Tryon Park, 4746 Broadway, corner Dykeman St. and Broadway, Manhattan, NY, not inside Inwood Hill Park itself.

Please Note:

  • Participants should be dressed for the weather, and be aware of very bad subway service. Trains are often canceled 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.
  • Please bring plastic bags for vegetables and herbs, paper bags for mushrooms, drinking water, and a pen (to sign in).
  • Dogs are permitted. Children are encouraged to attend.
  • There's no smoking whatsoever at any time.
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.

Refund Policy

  • Participants can cancel 2 business days before an event and get a refund less a 5% nonrefundable registration fee.
  • If the participant failed to show up in the tour or failed to notify about their absence 2 business days before the class, they will be required to pay a $25 penalty per person before being allowed on another tour.
  • In any event where a customer wants to cancel their enrollment and is eligible for a full refund, a 5% processing fee will be deducted from the refund amount.

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"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

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Read more about "Wildman" Steve Brill

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