About This Course

This 12-week comprehensive course will focus on the tools, techniques, and technology used in operating a natural cemetery. Students will learn about natural cemetery: organization options; property management; grave operations; site design; documentation platforms; records and data management programs; money management, including endowments; marketing; differences between laws, bylaws, regulations, policies; writing guidebooks and guidelines; communication necessities; and sales, products and services. We will also explore best practices as informed by science, the conservation community, and cemetery operator experience, plus religious and cultural needs and the ethics of environmental justice within the context of demand for more eco-friendly, affordable, and authentic disposition options. Successful completion will earn CEUs.

Course Format

  • One-hour per week for 12 weeks
  • Optional office hours every Tuesday 
  • Online, real-time instructor
  • Guest experts/video presentations
  • Readings and video assignments
  • Independent research
  • Interactive discussion
  • Access to instructor between sessions
  • Access to broad range of resource lists and links
  • Two assigned assessment projects
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Your Instructors

Holly Blue Hawkins

Natural Deathcare advocate, educator, community organizer, cemeterian, author and poet, Holly Blue Hawkins is a member of the Gamliel Institute faculty and Rosha Chevra Kadisha (Head of Jewish Burial Society). She is a past member of the Board of Trustees of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of California and is listed on the Green Burial Council's Speakers Bureau. With over 35 years of experience, Holly Blue provides education, training and consultation in a wide range of end-of-life subjects in both Jewish and secular settings. She has taught community college extension courses in all aspects of end-of-life planning and the need for environmentally sustainable and culturally-sensitive practices and facilities for several years, spoken at international conferences, trained home funeral guides, consulted with cemetery management and mortuary care center personnel, and visited countless natural burial sites from England to Hawai’I to learn more about cemetery management from a natural perspective.

Lee Webster

Lee Webster’s experience in education and development for private secondary schools, colleges and universities and serving in nonprofit leadership positions of the National Home Funeral Alliance, Green Burial Council, Conservation Burial Alliance, National End-of-Life Doula Alliance, NH Funeral Resources, Education & Advocacy, and the Funeral Partnership inform her work as a nationally recognized educator in the end of life sphere. She guest lectures routinely at various prominent colleges and universities, and has designed the only course on green funeral practices taught in mortuary schools in the US. Webster has published extensively on a wide range of funeral reform topics and green burial-specific how-to guides, many featured in Changing Landscapes: Exploring the growth of ethical, compassionate and environmentally sustainable green funeral service. Her latest collaborative book, The Future of the Corpse: Our Changing Places and Perceptions of the Dead and Mourning, which is being released in the fall of 2021.
Watch Intro Video

Hear the Instructors Talk About This Course

Go Beyond the Basics

For those interested in going beyond a basic understanding of green and natural burial.

The course is designed for anyone with an interest in managing a natural burial cemetery. The course will be taught through instructor and guest lectures, readings, on-line videos and presentations, open discussion sessions, and demonstrations. For those earning CEUs, full participation is mandatory. Assessments will be given in the form of two exams plus class participation. Material covered in this class will be included on the voluntary certification examination through an independent, third-party certifying body.

"Holly Blue and Lee are incredible, thoughtful mentors with the technical chops to deliver advanced training."

Brian Hayden - Founder, Redesigning the End

A Transformative Educational Experience

This course provides students with an mentorship and in-depth understanding of green burials, including:

  • how and why of increasing demand

  • cultural influencess

  • scientific premises

  • spiritual considerations

  • legal concerns

  • technical skill areas

  • health & safety facts

  • environmental sustainability

  • standard practices and procedures

Have Questions?

If you want to talk to a real human being about this course, call 800-685-7331 or submit your email below and we will reach out to you.

Not ready for this advanced course?

Start with one of these introductory, free learning opportunities: