Dennis Fowler Getchell of Limestone, Maine, served on the Board of Supervisors for Central Aroostook Soil and Water Conservation District (CASWCD) in Maine from 1942 to 1951, and as chairman of CASWCD for eight of those years. During that time, Mr. Getchell was instrumental in organizing the Maine Association of Soil Conservation District Supervisors and served as its first president. In addition, he assisted other states within the region seeking to organize state associations.
In 1946, Dennis F. Getchell was one of the dedicated SWCD leaders selected to participate in an organizational committee composed of soil conservationists loyal to the soil and water conservation movement. Following extensive discussion, this committee determined that a national association was needed to present a united group of soil and water conservation districts on the national level.
As a founding member of the “Chicago 18,” as the initial committee was identified, Mr. Getchell was elected as a temporary director and worked to generate support for what would become the National Association of Conservation Districts. He was subsequently elected to a three-year term as one of two NACD Northeast National Directors. His contributions to the organization included correspondence to district governing bodies urging support for the national association, organizing meetings within the northeast region and, later, encouraging donations from Maine to financially support NACD’s rental of its first office space in Millbrook, N.Y.
In addition to his efforts in serving CASWCD, the Maine Association of Conservation Districts, and as one of the founders of the NACD, Mr. Getchell owned and operated a farm in the northern Maine town of Limestone, and served on numerous local committees and boards. His commitment to soil and water conservation, and the importance of improving soil health, remained a priority that he worked toward until his death in 1965.