Rusty on International Mud Day at the Hands-on-Nature ANARCHY ZONE at the Ithaca Children’s Garden, 2012

Over the past 20 years, Rusty Keeler has worked with hundreds of community, school, parks, university, and childcare leaders to dream, design, and construct beautiful outdoor environments for children in more than 30 states and throughout Canada, Europe, China, Australia, and New Zealand. Keeler is one of the pioneers in the movement to reconnect children to nature and his designs reflect his sincere desire to create a more beautiful world in which to grow and explore. Keeler is the author of the book, Natural Playscapes: Creating Outdoor Play Environments for the Soul (Exchange Press: 2008) and is a frequent keynote speaker and presenter at conferences, communities, and colleges worldwide.

About Rusty’s Book

Natural Playscapes (2008: Exchange Press)

“In the book Natural Playscapes, Rusty Keeler describes a new movement in childrens outdoor play areasone with endless possibilities, transformable by seasons, days, and rhythms of nature as well as the children themselves.  Full of poetry, art, and bits of wisdom, the book is an inspiration for outdoor environments that are beautiful, playful, magical, transformable, and designed for the holistic development of children.” —Victoria Derr, PhD, Journal of Children, Youth, and Environments

“There are times when you can judge a book by its cover. Two imps peering out from behind a moss covered tree trunk suggest that Natural Playspaces ; Creating Outdoor Play Environments for the Soul is going to be a joyous and playful journey of discovery. This is a book about planning for play where the primary focus is the child, and the title refers not to the body but to the soul. Bliss.”
—Ric McConaghy, Australia, International Play Association

“I like the pictures because they are so cool.. I want to build the stuff and look at the book at the same time. I marked all the best pictures in the book but I ran out of sticky notes. Thank you for a cool book!”
—Trenton, age 6

A video of Rusty presenting at the Binghamton, NY  “Design your own Park” Play symposium, 2010:

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