Walks + Forage Picnics

A winter picnic in the woods. Photo by Jenny Hamp

Welcome to my plant-walk page. Spring walks for 2024 will drop on February 22nd. 

But scroll right down to buy a Gift Walk, if you like. 

Follow me on Instagram @marie_viljoen for pop-up announcements. And for private walk enquiries please email me at myviljoen (at) gmail (dot) com. 

My second book, Forage, Harvest, Feast - A Wild-Inspired Cuisine, is a useful resource, with over 500 recipes intended as a guide for exploring the range of possibilities for delicious and very versatile botanical ingredients. Please order from your nearest bookshop (or, you know, Amazon).

About my Walks

I lead plant identification and nature walks in wild and tame green spaces. As much as these experiences are about sharing a passion for plants, they are an introduction to and immersion in the rich natural world that surrounds us, even in the middle of a city.

Every part of every season offers a unique opportunity to learn more about the plants that surround us in plain sight, especially in places where we do not expect to find them. Yes, we even walk in winter.

Bronxploration, 2023

On urban field trips we identify and talk about so-called weeds, or plants whose habit is invasive; exotic plants (introduced species); and native plants, some of which could - and should, but still don't - define an authentic regional cuisine. Awareness, conservation and stewardship are the cornerstones of these immersions in nature. My own approach evolves, and I welcome the diverse perspective from guests and students bring to our roving discussions.

In terms of edible plants, we talk what parts of plants are safe to eat, and why, as well as culinary ideas and techniques for unfamiliar ingredients. The conversation always touches on the (also-evolving) do's and don't's of foraging; pollution issues; the relationship between invasive plants and natives, and why it does actually matter, if we care about the planet and biodiversity; and the real problems of commercial over-harvest of native wild plants (like ramps), all tying in to my approach of conservation foraging.

My real goal, though, is to help tune your senses to the botanical and natural details at our feet, and above our heads, and to inspire you to notice nature, even if it's on your city block. 

The group-size for walks is small, low-impact, and personal. It's not unusual for new friendships to grow over the course of the walk. Meet plants, make friends!

Winter walk

Forage Picnics

Most walks end with a wild-inspired tasting picnic. It's exactly what it sounds like: Tastes of in-season, wild ingredients, as well as preserved small-batch forages from my feral pantry. Non-foraged ingredients are high-quality, and organic or locally-grown, where possible. I take broad dietary preferences (vegan, vegetarian, omnivore) into account where possible within a group. You can also book a diet-specific, private walk.

Pine pollen pignoli

Ways to Walk and Talk

Scheduled Walks - seasonal walks are booked via this page (scroll down).
Gift Walks - buy an open ticket to any scheduled walk; valid for one year.
Private Walks - for institutions, corporate groups, schools, families, friends.
Plant Identification - I identify plants on your land, public space, or in your garden.
Talks, Classes - for botanic gardens, design firms, conservancies, garden clubs, etc.
Consultation - native and edible garden creation, wild recipes, mixology.

Buy a Gift Walk

A Gift Walk ($85) offers admission to any of my seasonal walks with forage-picnics (classes I teach for outside institutions like the NYBG are not included). Give an experience that includes plant identification, nature immersion, wild-inspired treats, and the company of like-minded humans. Valid for one year, Gift Walks are non-refundable.


Frequent Walker Miles

For every five walks you attend, the sixth is free. You can also transfer your free walk to a friend or donate it the Forage Fund, which makes tickets available to anyone who needs one. Please keep track and alert me when you're up for a gratis stroll. 

Cancellations and Refunds

Cancellations up to 72 hours in advance of a walk receive credit for a future walk, to be used within the current calendar year (credit can be transferred to a friend, too). Cancellations within 72 hours of a walk do not receive credit or a refund (this includes Gift Walk tickets).

If I cancel for any reason, you receive a full refund. 

Classes and walks for institutions like the New York Botanical Garden have their own cancellation policies. Details will be found through those ticketing links.

Spring Walks Coming Soon


  1. Thank you for keeping alive the Magical natural world !

  2. Thought,,, I haven't joined your field guide tour for a while, your note is always breathtaking treat for me. Thank you, Marie-san!


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