This is the question that launched Jonathan Powell on his journey from bee keeper to bee lover. At La Donaira, he leads a bee-rewilding project that is unique in Europe and one of a handful of dedicated honeybee reserves in the world.

*Rare breed of local cattle from our biodiversity reserve mingle with beehives from our bee sanctuary

Here, in an idyllic environment free from chemicals or human interference, the subspecies unique to the Iberian peninsula, apis millifera iberiensis , considered extinct in the wild, can regain a crucial foothold in its natural habitat, and we humans, free from the covetous imperatives of profit and productivity, can at last learn to feel these incredible creatures in the depths of our soul — a feeling that comes from stillness and mystery, rather than rationality and control.

*Bee sauna in action

Here, you are invited to tour our bee sanctuary, learn to identify the health of a bee hive within seconds just by observing tell-tale visual indicators, discover the difference between commercial and natural beehives, venture into the hidden world of the colony where individual seamlessly cooperate to maintain the health of the whole just like cells within an organism, taste honey made from the wildflowers of the surrounding hills, and immerse yourself completely within the atmosphere of the hive through our unique bee sauna — an enclosed chamber perched above three hives where you can come into direct contact with the sounds, smells and vibrations of 100 000 bees.

Bellow, a video presented by Jonathan at the recent Learning From the Bees international conference, offers an overview of our ecological restoration work which you are welcome to come see for yourself.