Water–or the overabundance of it–has been on my mind a lot this year. After the unprecedented rains of May 1 and 2 caused widespread flooding in Nashville, Tenn., many of us got our hands dirty on volunteer projects to rebuild our city. Six months after the flood, many families in our area are still putting their homes and lives back together. Though the nation’s attention quickly receded with the floodwaters, the economic burdens are far reaching and many people still need assistance. Hands on Nashville and the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee provide numerous ways to pitch in and get our community over these final hurdles.

Not only have lives been lost and homes wrecked, but Middle Tennessee’s natural resources have also taken a beating. This fall, as I’ve paddled down several of the area’s beautiful rivers (weekends have included a clean-up day on Swan Creek, a canoe camping trip down the Buffalo River and day paddles down the Harpeth River and on Center Hill Lake), I’ve witnessed the damaging effects of the flood–hundreds of downed trees, damaged banks and watersheds, piles of debris–on these ecosystems that we all depend upon.

You can help clean up and preserve these natural resources. Find out more by joining the Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association or volunteering at one of the many clean-water events sponsored by the Cumberland River Compact and the Harpeth River Watershed Association.