Rita Hussman, founder of Little Black Hoof Ventures, LLC, has more than 20 years of experience working with children, youth, families and communities. As a chemical health and violence prevention professional Rita built a reputation as a highly skilled and creative program developer and service provider, often integrating her lifelong enthusiasm for the outdoors and artistic talents into her work.
While maintaining her counseling licensure Rita has added to her credentials a Certificate in Excellent K-12 Service Learning Practice and Certified Interpretive Guide. She is also a Minnesota Master Naturalist Volunteer and the State Advocate for the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics.
The nature-based programs and services of Little Black Hoof Ventures are the manifestations of Rita's most heart-felt passions, experiences and gifts. She is energized by working at the confluence and motivated to develop programs that have the potential to simultaneously promote environmental literacy while doing good things for people and the planet.
Rita Hussman trained the Youth Outdoors’ youth this past fall (2010) on some Project WET activities. These activities were then conducted by our youth for an MEA event in partnership with St. Paul Park and Rec. and the DNR. Rita engaged our youth and did a great job getting them involved in the activities they were to lead. The youth also had a good time learning these activities. Our youth then led 150 K-6th graders from St. Paul out at William O’Brien State Park in chilly weather. Our youth did a wonderful job of getting all different age youth involved and active in the Project WET activities they were leading. I think part of the reason these activities went so well and our youth did a good job is due to the wonderful training that Rita provided. Not only did Rita volunteer her time to train them but she also stopped by to watch the youth in action! She is one of the most dedicated and passionate people I have ever worked with.
J. Stelzner, Youth Outdoors Coordinator
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Rita has managed to creatively bridge her past experience as a substance abuse prevention specialist to her newer profession (and passion) in environmental education. She has demonstrated the ability to work with youth and adults of all ages around issues of environmental stewardship and sustainability, assisting individuals in the discovery of how we each interact with nature, and the responsibility we each have to take care of our natural resources for future generations.
I was most impressed with how Rita was able to connect with the diverse youth and adults, some who are first generation immigrants and many groups that are identified as disadvantaged youth/young adults. She is professional, organized, and yet flexible enough to accommodate the varied needs of the youth and adults she works with. The newer intergenerational programs she provides are invaluable and provide unique "layers of learning" for all individuals that participate. I would highly recommend Rita to any organization looking for an experienced, creative, collaborative person who will be a great asset to their organization.
E. Rolloff, Metro State University
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Rita is someone you really need on a collaborative team. She comprehends the goals and effectively communicates the means to achieve them. She's very intuitive about people, their strengths and their needs, and knows how to bridge the divide that sometimes separates team members from a common goal.
As a volunteer at Maplewood Nature Center, Rita participated in an extensive training program for her certification as a Master Naturalist. She also wrote a grant for a PLT workshop to be held at MNC. She has advised staff on some volunteer issues and continues to volunteer as her time allows.
J. Hayman, Maplewood Nature Center
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Rita is a dedicated volunteer and excellent steward of the land. Her countless hours of volunteerism and enthusiasm for the natural world, make her an amazing person to work with. I appreciate her time and energy and would work with her on any project in the future! Thanks Rita for educating the youth and future generations in your community!
A.Ollar, 2010 Leave No Trace "e-tour"