The Climate Smart Communities (CSC) Program was developed in 2009 by seven NY State agencies and is administered by the Department of Environmental Conversation (DEC).

As New Yorkers, we can be proud that our state is leading the nation toward building a bright future by addressing climate change.  One example is the creation of the CSC Program, a thoughtful, robust plan of action that each town can choose to follow in a way that’s right for them.  It’s a road map toward our common goals.


The program consists of over 100 actions, which at first may seem overwhelming.  They involve switching light bulbs, installing car chargers and doing the math of town energy use.  But they solve the intricate puzzle of how we can attend to our daily routine while being smarter about it.  The actions guide us to act in our own interest, and at the same time in the interest of our community.  They show us how to draw down our carbon footprint and build more efficient, adaptable town operations – which, as it turns out, saves taxpayer money.

In 2017 Austerlitz Town Board took the first step toward our participation by passing a resolution to become a Climate Smart Community.  When our town certifies at higher levels of the program (by proving we’ve undertaken more and more of the actions), it signals to the state that we’re taking climate change seriously and elevates our standing for further grants.

Our goal is for the CSC Task Force to be a focusing mechanism, to draw together both the community and government in our actions to address climate change by taking measures to strengthen our local ecosystem.

The Austerlitz CSC Task Force meets with the Austerlitz Climate Committee every third Wednesday of the month at 7pm (now on Zoom—the link is posted on the town website ahead of meetings. You will receive a notice by email if you sign up here).  Core Task Force members are expected to manage projects which contribute specifically to efforts to achieve actions and help us build a more resilient future for Austerlitz.

We are now working toward achieving Bronze level certification.


The Austerlitz Climate Committee formally resolved to create a CSC Task Force in April of 2020.  (Establishing a Task Force counts as one of the CSC actions.)

The Task Force includes:

  • DeeAnn Veeder, Climate Smart Task Force Coordinator
  • Greg Vogler, Town Board member
  • Jere Wrightsman, Town Board member
  • Cara Humphrey, Austerlitz representative to the Columbia County Environmental Management Council (EMC)
  • Paige Ruane, Co-founder of Partners for Climate Action and project steward of the Local Champions Pilot
  • Emma Gregg, SUNY ESF student

Technical Assistance

  • Jill Henck, a Senior Planner at the Capital District Regional Planning Commission (CDRPC) and a Clean Energy Communities Outreach Coordinator, works with the Task Force to provide technical assistance and guidance on how to successfully complete CSC and CEC actions.
  • Tara Donadio, Sustainability Planner
  • Haley Balcanoff, CDRPC Intern