Call for Volunteers!
Volunteers Needed to Water Seedlings in Austerlitz Town Park

Sign up with a partner for a day and time to water the 27 new seedlings that we planted at the Town Park in Austerlitz (behind the Austerlitz Fire House on West Hill Road).

Bring your water shoes, we’ll supply the buckets! Water must be collected from the adjacent stream in buckets to water the trees.

This planting is part of the Austerlitz Climate Smart Task Force’s participation in DEC’s Buffer in a Bag Program.

Please respond to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

And thank you for joining us in this adventure!

Compliments of

The Austerlitz Climate Smart Task Force & Davistudio in Spencertown

Pick one up at the Town Hall in the entrance vestibule

Monday-Friday 8:00-12:00 p.m.

Just help yourself!

For use in home composting:

1. Put food scraps* in a small container kept on the kitchen counter or freezer

2. Empty that container into this five-gallon bucket** that can be kept in your garage or outside your kitchen door (with lid tightly secured)

3. Empty the bucket into your outdoor compost pile***

*Food scraps include: fruits & vegetables, coffee grounds, tea & tea bags, egg shells **Pet hair, indoor plant trimmings, dead flower arrangements can be added to this or the pile outside. ***Into the compost pile can be added yard trimmings & leaves

See our Facebook page for more composting resources: AusterlitznyClimate Committee

The latest edition of the Social Security Star is now available –  pdf Social Security Star – February 2021

Share Your Austerlitz Climate Action Photos

Austerlitz, NY, January 22, 2021 ———The Austerlitz Climate Committee, formed by the Austerlitz Town Board in 2018, wants to see photos of you taking local climate action and caring for our earth and our community!

We want to feature you alongside your neighbors who are taking similar actions!

Please submit the following for us to consider including on our upcoming website:

1) Photos of how you're caring for the earth in Austerlitz (examples include compost setups, solar panels, home energy improvements, heat pumps, cover cropping, permaculture gardening, pollinator habitat, rotational grazing, native tree plantings, your goats munching on invasive plants – anything that you'd like to share that relates to nature-based solutions to climate change or emission drawdown). We’d love it if you, a family member and/or friend are in the picture!
2) Please provide your name (for photo credit) and who and what is featured in the photo, and a few words of explanation on how it draws down carbon or repairs the ecosystem. This information will be included on the website and our Facebook page.

Feel free to send more than one photo if you have multiple actions to feature!

Please send your photos in jpg form to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view with the subject line My Climate Action Austerlitz.

Please understand that by sending your photo, you are giving us permission to use the photo and your name, as requested, on our website and our Facebook page.

Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view

1st Quarter: March 15-March 26
2nd Quarter: June 7-June 26
3rd Quarter: August 30-September 10
4th Quarter: November 29-December 10

The December Edition of the Social Security Star is now available! Click here to download it:  pdf Social Security Star - December 2020

In 2019, New York State became the first state in the nation to test robotic pets, cats and dogs, with isolated community-based older adults. “New York piloted 60 Joy for All Companion Pets (30 cats and 30 pups) with socially isolated older adults living at home in 12 counties across the state. Pilot participants were identified using a six-item loneliness scale. Robotic cats and pups are usually given to people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias as a form of calming pet therapy, but data has shown that using pets to decrease social isolation is highly successful—70% of pilot participants reported a decrease or significant decrease in isolation after one year.”

“Social isolation was already a serious public health problem for older individuals who have limited social connections, and the COVID-19 virus has made this problem exponentially worse,” said Association on Aging in New York Executive Director Becky Preve. “Social isolation also puts older adults at greater risk for a number of physiological issues such as decline in mobility, heart disease including heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure, cognitive decline, infectious illness, and chronic illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes.” Studies have shown that social isolation disproportionately affects older adults. There are many individuals living alone whose only social contact occurs outside of their home. These interactions may take place at senior centers, Churches and other community programs, most of which have closed or have limitations on the number of people who may attend due to COVID-19. There are also seniors whose only in person contact may consist of the brief interaction with the meals on wheels volunteer.

“While social distancing and Matilda’s Law were put in place to slow the physical effects of COVID-19, they also have the unintended effect of heightening the risk of social isolation and loneliness even more, ultimately leaving older adults and caregivers looking for solutions to provide comfort, companionship, and joy in this time of physical absence.”

The Office for the Aging currently has a limited number of these robotic pets available. The pets look and feel real and respond to touch and voice. However, one is able to mute the sounds, i.e. purring, barking, if they prefer. They offer the convenience of not needing to be fed, walked or bathed. Please call the office at 518-828-4258 for more information or if you are interested in obtaining a pet.

There is a program available to assist you with your Medicare Part B premium called the Medicare Savings Program, also known as the Medicare Buy-In Program.  Based on your current income, the Medicare Buy-In Program could help pay your Medicare premiums as well as your deductibles.  An individual cannot make more than $1,456.00 a month and a couple no more than $1,960.00 a month.  It does not look at assets in NYS.  If you enroll in the Medicare Savings Program, you will automatically get Extra Help, the federal program that helps pay most of your Medicare Part D drug costs. For more information or to apply for a Medicare Savings Program, please call the Columbia County Office for the Aging at 518-828-4258.

Extra Help is a program to help you with your prescription drug costs and sometimes the premium, depending on your income.  Your income must be below $1,615.00 a month for an individual or $2,175.00 a month for couples.  Resources cannot be more than $14,610 for an individual or $29,160 for couples.  Resources include such things as bank accounts, stocks, and bonds.  They do not count your home, car, or any life insurance policy as resources.

You can apply for Extra Help at: help or call Social Security at      1-800-772-1213 to apply over the phone.

For more information on Medicare Basics, please go to , click on Departments and scroll down to Office for the Aging (OFA). On the OFA welcome page, please click on the Medicare 101: Medicare Basics Virtual Presentation link. This virtual presentation will provide answers to most Medicare questions.