Gabi and Cliff McLean grew up in parts of the world that are very different from Southern California: Cliff in Ohio and Gabi in Germany. Gabi has lived in the San Gabriel Valley for more than 30 years, and Cliff for almost 20 years. Together, they have hiked extensively in the San Gabriel Mountains, where they rekindled a deep appreciation for the natural landscape, and seized the opportunity to learn about the fascinating flora in southern California.
While pursuing their first careers – Cliff as a computer professional and Gabi as a non-profit executive – they expanded their knowledge of the local plants through classes and seminars, and through their extensive self-study. The most enjoyable learning experiences have been out-of-doors in the San Gabriel Mountains, and in their own native plant garden in Covina, California.
Since 1992, they have volunteered and lead nature hikes and educational programs for the Los Angeles County Natural Area Parks, the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the California Native Plant Society, the Angeles National Forest, and the Natural Science Section of the Sierra Club, Los Angeles chapter.
Gabi took thousands of photographs to study the plants and their habitats. Many of those are included in this interpretive guide. She also provided photographs to the permanent exhibits at the Eaton Canyon Nature Center and to interpretive signs at the Whittier Narrows Natural Area, Santa Fe Dam Nature Center, and the historic Washington Park in Pasadena. Some of her photos have been published in natural history books and local publications. Gabi also has written a number of nature essays and articles on the subjects of conservation and gardening with California native plants.
In 2003, Gabi and Cliff created the CD-ROM entitled Common Plants of Eaton Canyon and the San Gabriel Foothills: Field Guide on CD. This product provided the basis for the programming in their newest interpretive guide, Plants of the San Gabriel Mountains: Foothills and Canyons. These educational products are sold at nature centers, botanical gardens, native plant nurseries, and book stores throughout the Los Angeles basin, as well as online retailers and their own website.
For both plant guides, Cliff drew on his 35 years of computer experience to design and develop the software. Gabi and Cliff worked together to write the plant interpretations and natural history topics included in the CD-ROM.
They also encourage you to visit other portions of this Web site, www.natureathand.com and see more photographs and essays about nature and native plant gardening, as well as Nature at Hand product information.
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