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Nature-Based Solutions

Natural Beekeeping Intensive

by Courtney Cosgriff • Last updated 04/2022

Course description

Bees play a crucial role in our ecosystems. As they find nourishment, bees move pollen from plant to plant, fertilizing those plants so that they can fruit, reproduce, and produce food crops for human and animal consumption. As pollinators, bees are incredibly important to healthy ecosystems. When bees thrive, so do our plants - and ultimately so do we.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service, one out of every three bites of food in the US depends on honeybees and other pollinators. Honeybees pollinate $15 billion worth of crops each year. Honeybee and pollinator health contributes to food diversity, security, and profitability.

During the past 50 years, honeybees have declined. Each winter since 2006, about 30 percent of beehives have collapsed because of disease, parasites, poor nutrition, pesticide exposure, and other issues.

A major contributing factor to honeybee decline is invasive and stressful beekeeping practices. A majority of honeybee colonies in the United States are managed by commercial beekeepers whose primary reasons for keeping bees are honey production and commercial pollination. In order to meet demand in these industries, beekeepers must keep bees in a way that stresses the colony and compromises their overall health.

The health and longevity of honeybees is directly correlated to beekeeping practices. Now more than ever, we need to reform the beekeeping industry to better serve the honeybees through implementing natural and sustainable beekeeping practices.

Courtney Cosgriff, professional beekeeper, herbalist, and owner of Honeybee Herbals, teaches this in-depth course on natural beekeeping. Topics covered include honeybee biology, hive anatomy, the evolution of flowering plants and the bees, the human-apian relationship throughout history, what is happening to our bees, ethically sourcing honeybees, selecting a hive design, choosing a hive location, managing your hive throughout the seasons, troubleshooting issues with the hive, and how to harvest products from the hive.

Sign up today to learn everything you need to steward bees as a critical part of our ecosystem, whether you choose to do so personally or professionally.

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Full course outline

Welcome - Orientation Materials

This course is self-paced, so you don’t need to be logged in at any specific time. You can get started immediately after you enroll and the course materials will remain in your account with minimum guaranteed access for 12 months (1 year) after enrollment.

  • Set up email notifications and your student profile
  • Introduce yourself on the discussion board
Module 1 - Evolution and Pollination

We will cover the evolution of flowering plants and the evolution of bees.

Module 2 - Who are the Honeybees?

Hive biology and hive anatomy

Module 3 - The Human-Apian Relationship

Our relationship to Honeybees throughout history

Module 4 - The Modernization of Beekeeping

How industrialization changed beekeeping from a small scale and spiritually-based tradition to the large scale operations we see today.

Module 5 - What’s Happening to our Honeybees?

An in depth look into Colony Collapse Disorder and the many causes negatively affecting Honeybee health

Module 6 - Natural Beekeeping

What is it? How does it differ from commercial beekeeping? Why is it important?

Module 7 - Ethically Sourcing Honeybees

In the next few modules, we move through the steps of becoming a Natural Beekeeper. First we explore how to ethically source honeybees.

Module 8 - Choosing a Hive Design

An overview of different hive designs and the pros and cons of each.

Module 9 - Hive Location

Choosing an optimal location for your hive and apiary

Module 10 - Troubleshooting and Red Flags

We will dive into the various things that can go wrong as a beekeeper and how to deal with them. We will dive into pests, diseases, weather, and the various things that can negatively impact the health of your colony or colonies.

Module 11 - Products of the Hive

Harvesting, processing, and medicine-making with the products of the hive.

Conclusion - Feedback and Additional Resources

This is our last module but you still have access to the all of course materials for 12 months (1 year), so keep working and you'll be able to complete the course at your own pace. After your year of access expires you can optionally extend access with a HeatSpring Membership. Enjoy the course and keep in touch!

  • 1 Year of Access to Course Materials
  • Feedback: 2-minute Exit Survey
  • Consider Joining as a HeatSpring Member
  • Certificate of Completion: Request a Certificate


Courtney Cosgriff

Honeybee Herbals

Courtney is a beekeeper, clinical herbalist, gardener, and activist. Courtney began her path with the honeybees in 2011 at the age of 18. Since then, Courtney has dedicated much of her life to working with the bees and being a voice and activist for them in these uncertain times. Courtney spent many years studying and apprenticing with various beekeepers until forming... Learn more


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Frequently asked questions

How does this course work?

This 11 module course is delivered entirely online. This course is self-paced and you can set your own schedule to complete the materials. During your year of access the instructor will be in the course answering questions on the discussion board. After successfully completing the course, you will be able to generate a certificate of completion.

How long do I have access to the materials?

Students can pre-order but will not be able to access the full course materials or earn a certificate of completion until the course is fully published. Once the course is published any students who have pre-ordered will then have access to the course materials for one year (365 days). After the one year of access expires, access can be extended by joining as a HeatSpring member. A single membership extends access to course materials for all past enrollments.

Is there a certificate of completion?

Yes, when you complete this course you are eligible for a certificate of completion from HeatSpring. You can download your certificate as soon as you have completed all of the course requirements. Students can easily share their verified certificates on their LinkedIn profiles using our LinkedIn integration.

Can I register multiple people?

Yes please visit our HeatSpring for Groups page to get a group discount.

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