A horticultural therapist with a previous career in software consulting and technology journalism, Erik Keller has been named as an alternate member of the Conservation Commission.\u201cWhen I was a kid, I was always into gardening,\u201d Keller told the selectmen when asked how he\u2019d moved from software to horticulture. \u201c...I enjoy mixing things up.\u201dKeller got an engineering degree form Stony Brook University in 1979 and then worked for close to two decades in technology-related consulting and journalism. He got a certificate as a master gardener in horticultural science from UConn in 2000 and a certificate in horticultural therapy from the New York Botanical Garden after studying there from 2007 to 2009. He\u2019s been involved in horticultural therapy at Green Chimneys, the special education center in Brewster and Carmel, N.Y., and at Ann\u2019s Place, the cancer support center in Danbury just over on the Ridgefield-Danbury town line.Selectman Steve Zemo asked what horticultural therapy is about.\u201cYou use plants and nature as a means to take them to a better place,\u201d he said.Keller currently practices horticulture and horticultural therapy at Ann\u2019s Place.\u201cDesigned and maintains the grounds and gardens at Ann\u2019s Place to be self-sustaining and low maintenance through the selection of native plants and grasses,\u201d his resume says. \u201c...Runs biweekly horticultural therapy classes, which uses gardening and plant-based activities to help clients manage a variety of cognitive, social, emotional and physical issues. Client base includes cancer patients and survivors, special needs children and seniors.\u201dHe worked from January 1999 to December 2013 as a management consultant in \u201centerprise software\u201d as a principal in Wapiti LLC. Before that he was director of research, managing software applications, for the business consulting firm Gartner from 1988 to 1998.Keller told the selectmen of his support for conservation efforts in Ridgefield.\u201cA town is only as wonderful as the environment it\u2019s in,\u201d he said.\u201cI\u2019ve always wondered why the town empties out in the summer; it\u2019s the most beautiful time of year here,\u201d he told the selectmen.The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously on June 19 to make him a Conservation Commission alternate.\u201cI think you\u2019re perfect for the Conservation Commission,\u201d said Selectwoman Maureen Kozlark.