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Children's Letters

Book Reviews NYCHEA Newsletter June 2015

January 2, 2012

Hi Mr. Brill, Steve, or whatever you would like me to call you.

My name is Henry Dobell, years ago you gave my elementary school class from Harrison Avenue School a tour of a nearby field to show us some of the plants that we could eat right below our very feet (no rhyme intended). That lit a spark in my mind that has since flourished and given me an "addiction" to the outdoors.

At 16 I am still obsessed with the outdoors whether the activity be hiking, mountain biking, climbing, or foraging. I have a signed copy of your book and have put it to good use. Over the summer i went on an outward bound backpacking trip in north carolina and ended up using my knowledge of the few plants i knew in that area. I relieved bad breath and hunger on our long hikes with sassafras root, and stopped a kid from throwing rhododendron in a fire (kid with asthma + toxic rhododendron smoke = bad). I love to go for long walks in pound ridge reservation to look at the birds, plants, and terrain. To bring my ramblings to a close i guess i would like to say thank you. Thank you for introducing me to the great outdoors and all of it's great big, and sometimes great little wonders.

Your fan Henry Dobell

Scarsdale Middle School
Scarsdale, NY

March 27, 2006

Dear Mr. Brill,

On a recent visit to Scarsdale Middle School, you visited my class and took us out on the grounds to learn about the plants there. I was in the last class you escorted that day.

I really enjoyed your visit, and I was particularly interested in the edible plants. I think that it is so cool that you can actually eat some plants right off the ground. I especially admired how your daughter could already identify edible plants, and was just picking them up and eating them. My favorite edible plant was the field garlic. I was munching it all the way home, until my mom realized that the plants were not washed, and she got mad!

I think that the way you are a very good story teller. The way you described your arrest and used the "Brillophone" to enhance your stories was terrific. I still can't figure out how to produce a sound by clapping in front of my mouth! I was surprised to learn that the first thing you did after getting arrested was to contact the media stations. That was very smart, and I seriously doubt that would even occur to me.

The best story, however, was the one about the German lady and the poison ivy. You mimicked the accent beautifully, and the story was hilarious.

As you can probably tell, I really enjoyed your visit. I just want to say "Thank You" for such a wonderful time. I will be sure to tell my family all about it, and encourage them to attend a nature walk with you, if possible.

Thanks again,


7th grade
Ms. Colantuono's Science Class

Seaford Middle School
Seaford, NY


Dear "Wildman" Steve Brill,

Thank you for the awesome field trip!!! It was amazing! I learned so much from you on what plants you can eat and how you can make root beer and how you can make tea from certain plants to make you feel better. That was one of the best field trips I have ever been on. I would like to hike more now, because of your program. I really enjoyed being "in tune" with nature for a day and I wish to do it again some day soon.

I really enjoy the Brilla-phone, it was soo funny. It would be cool if I could have you do my birthday party...even though I don't really have birthday parties anymore. I just wanted to write you and to tell anyone who sees this letter that you must go and see a nature program with Wildman.

Wildman teaches you so much , while having fun the whole time! Once again, you HAVE TO SEE THIS FORAGING PROGRAM!!!

Thank you again,

Michael Hall (12 years old)

Central Middle School
9 Indian Rock Rock Lane
Greenwich, CT, 06830

November, 2004

Dear Wild Man,

Thank you for letting us see your skills
It was fun to watch it even gave me chills

I enjoyed the time you devoted to us
If I were your teacher you would get an A+

Thanks for everything / I had so much fun
Your humor would be ranked #1

I learned a lot with the time we spent
This poem is now done it is the end.

Anonymous Student

Columbia Grammar School
26 W. 94 St.
NY, NY 10025

[October, 2004]

Dear Steve Brill,

Thanks for coming to our classroom and showing us nature objects and what we can and cannot eat in the wild. Now I can tell my sister what I know.

I loved the wild ramps now those were cool and they tasted good. Out teachers cook the chicken mushroom it did taste, smell, and look like chicken meat.

The story of the cow and Ion and Zeus was funny. Thanks for being funny at 3C at Columbia Grammar.

Your Friend,

November 17, 2003
Mrs. Blohm Language Arts

Our Nature Hike at Bethpage State Park with Wildman Steve Brill

On Friday, November 14, 2003, Mrs. Blohm and my homeroom hiked in Bethpage State Park foraging for wild plants that you can eat. We also went because we recently read Gary Paulsen's The River, and we wanted to see if you were stranded in the wilderness what you might eat.

Hiking in such cold weather was one experience that I had never had before. I loved every time Steve Brill would stop and get really into explaining the plants to us! He really is "The Wild Man".

On this trip I noticed that there are three positive comments I would want to make about three people on this trip. Miss Krysynski had a positive attitude throughout the trip and she had to do the trip twice despite the cold weather! Francesca, my partner, classmate, and friend, was always so generous with our hand warmer and never hogged it. Jillian, my classmate and friend, was freezing throughout most of the trip, but still held out till we got to the nice warm bus.

I learned that I really was not built to withstand the cold weather. The next time I go hiking with my dad, we should dig for wild carrots! They were good! I also learned that everyone, and not just in our class, but everyone has a wild side.

I loved how Steve Brill got so into explaining the wild plants to us and what they would do to you if we ate them! Poison Ivy! Ha!! Maybe if our whole class practiced the "Brillophone" we could start a band! Thanks so much! It was a blast!

P.S. 206Q.
Class 4-216


Thank you!

Dear Wild Man Steve, thank you very much for making my hike outstanding!! I have never been on such an amazing hike before. I really learned ALOT about nature. I had alot of fun. Now I know much more than I did before. The hike was great!! When I got home I had so much stuff to tell my parents about the hike. It was great!!


Molly Z.

The Crossroads School

Dear Steve Brill,

Thank you for sharing your knowledge, awareness, studies, and stories with us. I learned alot being with you and also felt good about what I comprehended. You have increased my understanding of the world and enhanced my learning of a habitat (plants) that I only knew a little compared to what you fed me with (knowledge).

I understood and carefully analyzed every use and aspect of plants we went over. Thank you also for your hands on demonstration and your experiment on black walnuts, white snakeroot, and others to show how to recognize different plants and their uses.

Recently I heard on the news about kids who ate a nut and later found out that it was poisonous. I thought about you and your speech on scientific methods and what you like to do. If we had more Wildman Steve Brills in the wold we could know a whole lot about the environment and what it takes to live healthy.

As you see this has had an impact on me about the world and what we all can do to help each other to learn. I salute you for taking the time on helping kids learn about the environment and other creatures of the world. I give you an A+ for kid's teacher award because you are great in many ways. Continue to succeed in your fabulous work environment (parks).

From Ketir M.


Dear Mr. "Wildman,"

Thank you for coming to our school. I liked the poor man's pepper (or at least the name of it).

The "Death Breath" doesn't work on my brother (he's got worse breath!)

I liked your crazy stories.

Yours Truly,

Laura M.


Dear Mr. Wildman,

Thank you to visit our P.S. 31 school. I enjoyed listening to all kinds of stories, especially the tick because the man on stage he was saying blah, blah, blah, blah.

I learned many new things today. I didn't know you are funny and silly. Are you a scientist?! I learned that some plants are poisonous like white snakeroot. Where did you get those plants?

When I grow up I'm going to be a scientist because they study about lots of things.

What country are you from? I'm Korean. But how did you get funny and silly? I'm funny and silly when I'm happy because sometimes some kids make fun of me. But not all the time they make fun of me.

Were all the stories true? How did you know all kinds of plants? I mean do you know all of them? Did you have fun today? How did you make those stories.

Jennifer, class 2-125