Profiles: Nature at Hand

by Drew Ready

(reprinted from Watershed Wise the newsletter of the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council, Summer/Fall 2004)

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Gabi McLean is a nature photographer and docent-naturalist at Eaton Canyon Nature Center, one of the natural area parks of Los Angeles County. She is on the boards of the San Gabriel Mountains Chapter of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) and the Natural Science Section of the Sierra Club Angeles Chapter.

Hairy ceanothus
Hairy ceanothus (Ceanothus oliganthus) © 2003 Gabi McLean

She demonstrated her commitment to native plant gardening in 2000 when she and her husband, Cliff, replaced their entire front and back yards with local natives. They prepared a program, titeled We Took Out the Lawn and You Can Too!, which they have presented to garden clubs and CNPS groups.

Showy penstemon
Showy penstemon (Penstemon spectabilis) © 2003 Gabi McLean

Gabi and Cliff also created Common Plants of Eaton Canyon and the San Gabriel Foothills, an interactive field guide on CD-ROM. This CD contains over 700 photographs of 124 plants of the San Gabriel Mountains, complete with detailed descriptions and additional information on local natural history. Gabi provided the photgraphs, Cliff did the programming, and they wrote the descriptions together. It was written for hikers and amateur naturalists, but is useful to professionals too. They have graciously loaned images from their program for this newsletter issue.

Wild Canterbury Bells
Wild Canterbury-bells (Phacelia minor) © 2003 Gabi McLean

Information about Gabi and Cliff's CD is available on their web site,, as well as photographs and essays on nature and native plant gardening. Gabi can be reached at

Chia (Salvia columbariae) © 2003 Gabi McLean

Keywords: Gabi McLean, Cliff McLean, Gabriele McLean, Clifford McLean, Nature at Hand, Gabi Horn, Gabriele Horn, Common Plants of Eaton Canyon and the San Gabriel Foothills: Field Guide on CD, Plants of the San Gabriels, California native plants, Pasadena, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, San Gabriel Valley, Southern California, Altadena, Covina, natural, nature photography, photograph, environmental education, naturalist, docent, hike, hiking, CD-ROM, California native garden, gardening, flowers, wildflowers, San Gabriel Mountains, Angeles National Forest, California Native Plant Society, CNPS, Eaton Canyon Nature Center Associates, ECNCA