Dennis Chestnut

Dennis Chestnut

FOUNDING EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
(RETIRED)
Groundwork Anacostia River DC.

Dennis Chestnut is a native Washingtonian, and is a lifetime resident of
Ward 7. Dennis is a master carpenter and vocational educator by profession,
but his dedication to youth development, community improvement and civic
duty has led to his involvement with many civic and conservation projects,
and enriching experiences. He is also a lover of the outdoors, has a passion
for conservation and the environment, and has advised many community,
business and government leaders on civic ecology and civic engagement
issues.

Growing up in the far-northeast section of Washington, DC, Dennis became
connected to the many green spaces, parks, streams, and the Anacostia
River, where he learned to swim as a child. Dennis is the carpentry
internship instructor at the Academy of Construction and Design at IDEA
Public Charter High School, and retired founding executive director of
Groundwork Anacostia River DC. Among the many programs and projects
developed by Groundwork, managing the bandalong litter traps and
removing tons of trash and debris from the Anacostia River became one of
Groundwork’s signature programs. Dennis is a board member of the East of
the River Steel Band, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, and is a Senior
Fellow of the Chesapeake Region Environmental Leadership Program.
Dennis is an appointee to Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Leadership Council for a
Cleaner Anacostia River and the Urban Forestry Advisory Council. Dennis
is a member of the United for a Healthy Anacostia River Coalition, the

National Capitol Region Anacostia Watershed Stewards Academy, and the
Anacostia Watershed Community Advisory Committee. Dennis has
received numerous awards including the Greater Washington Interfaith
Partnership Vision Award, the Lankford/Giles/Vaughn Minority Architect
Award for Community Activism, the DC Appleseed Sustainable Living and
Leading Award, and most recently the 2019 River Network River Hero.
Dennis has also appeared in numerous publications and video documentaries
that highlight his work on restoring the health of the Anacostia River,
improving the East of the River communities, and developing high quality
youth programs.

Ward 7 and areas east of the Anacostia River have been described as the
“Greenest” Ward and section of Washington, D.C. outside of the National
Mall, but also is where some of the most environmentally challenging
conditions in the city exist. This is the reason why Dennis has committed
himself to restoring the health of the Anacostia River, improving the natural
resources located in this community and throughout Washington, D.C., and
connecting the residents, schools, businesses, civic and community
organizations to the many outdoor resources and natural environment
through tangible on-the-ground projects that Change Places and Change Lives.