Press Release
November 7, 2003

Cliff McLean
Nature at Hand
17029 Bygrove Street
Covina, CA 91722
(213) 925-9751

Nature at Hand Announces New Release of Common Plants of Eaton Canyon and the San Gabriel Foothills: Field Guide on CD

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Covina, CA – November 7, 2003 – Nature at Hand, a San Gabriel Valley producer of nature-related educational materials, today announced a new resource for environmental education in the Southern California area. Their new product, Common Plants of Eaton Canyon and the San Gabriel Foothills: Field Guide on CD, will be released on November 15, 2003.

This unique learning tool contains over 700 beautiful photographs of 124 plants, as well as detailed descriptions and related information. One of the most unique features of this CD is the presentation of multiple photographs for each plant, and each photograph can be enlarged by a click on the photo. "The images on the CD look GREAT! The inclusion of habit images as well as the colorful close-ups will be invaluable to professional and amateurs alike" commented Dr. Gary Wallace, Research Associate at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden.

The plant descriptions are written for the layman who is interested in natural history, but not trained in botany. This CD describes the overall look and feel of the plants with a sense of excitement, not just giving the details. It answers many of the questions that hikers and other visitors to the foothills don’t get a chance to ask. The photos and descriptions together offer much more information about each plant than other field guides do.

Kathy LaShure, board member of the local California Native Plant Society chapter, said at a recent meeting “This is the kind of learning tool that I wish I had when I was learning these plants.”

A glossary of over 200 botanical terms is available with a single mouse click on those terms, throughout the Field Guide. This is an excellent way to learn about plants in general, in addition to identifying specific ones.

"I find the CD very easy to use" said Cynthia Null, teacher and former president of the Eaton Canyon Nature Center Associates. Cliff McLean, designer and author of the application, explained "I wanted to make it simple, so a computer novice can use the Field Guide intuitively and without assistance." Users can page through the screens, as they would leaf through a book. But, unlike printed books, the user can choose the sequence according to their interest: by common name, botanical name, plant family, flower color, plant community, or plant type.

The Custom Search feature allows a look at a list of plants sharing certain characteristics. For example, a person who saw a shrub with purple flowers on an April hike in the chaparral can search on exactly those characteristics. Custom Search also lets the user search for a plant by entering just a partial plant name. Another feature, the Self-Quiz, makes it fun to test plant ID skills for the beginner and the advanced user alike. Information about the five plant communities in the foothills, plant adaptations to fire and drought, and information about the plant families represented in the guide, complement the plant descriptions.

Nature at Hand is a husband and wife partnership of Cliff and Gabi McLean, of Covina, California. Gabi and Cliff are avid hikers in the San Gabriel Mountains, where they developed a deep appreciation for the local landscape and its plants and animals. They both volunteer many hours as docent-naturalists at the Los Angeles County Eaton Canyon Natural Area Park and Nature Center in Pasadena, and are active board members of the California Native Plant Society, San Gabriel Mountains chapter. Gabi McLean captured the photographic images, while Cliff McLean designed and developed the software. Together, they wrote the plant descriptions and other text.

Common Plants of Eaton Canyon and the San Gabriel Foothills: Field Guide on CD will be available, November 15, at Under the Oaks, plant sale and fund-raiser of the California Native Plant Society, San Gabriel Mountains chapter, held at the Eaton Canyon Nature Center in Pasadena, CA. After that, it will be sold at the Eaton Canyon Nature Center gift shop, at other nature centers and native plant nurseries, and directly by Nature at Hand. The introductory price is $14.95.

Further details about this Field Guide on CD are available at


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