Rusty Keeler and Leon Smith are the playful minds behind earthplay and planet earth playscapes.
Rusty on International Mud Day at the Hands-on-Nature ANARCHY ZONE at the Ithaca Children’s Garden, 2012
Rusty Keeler is an artist / designer with a unique sensitivity to the sights, sounds and experiences of childhood. He has a deep belief in the beauty and importance of play in the development of children and his designs reflect his sincere desire to create a more beautiful world in which to grow and explore. Rusty works throughout the world creating play environments for children and lectures at colleges and conferences internationally. He is the author of the book Natural Playscapes (2008: Exchange Press) Rusty lives among the woods and gorges of the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. When not designing or building playscapes you may find him barefoot in his garden.
Leon inside his favorite living willow hut.
Leon Smith was born and raised in the interior of Alaska. He will neither confirm, nor deny rumors that a family of brown bears raised him until the age of 5. He has worked as a childcare provider and preschool teacher in several different settings, most notably the Giddens School (formerly called Happy Medium) in Seattle WA. Through his work with preschool children, he developed a passion for creating spaces that allow child children to do what they do naturally, which is thrive!
Leon received a Bachelor of Arts from the Evergreen State College, focusing on Ecological Design. While in college he completed design projects including: a model ‘Green Home’ build by Habitat for Humanity and a Natural Playscape for the Campus Children’s Center at Evergreen. Leon was also a campus organizer around issues of sustainability. He helped plan and produce Synergy: the annual Sustainable Living Conference as well as implementing a Clean Energy purchasing program, to reduce the campus impacts on global warming. Leon was also coordinator of the Energy Outreach Center, a non-profit information center for green building and renewable energy. He is a member the board of directors of the Community Built Association, a national non-profit supporting community involvement in public projects.
Since 2004, Leon has worked with Rusty Keeler at EarthPlay designing custom natural play environments for preschools, child care centers, and communities around the country. He now resides in Portland, Oregon.”