Leon Bates did his undergraduate work at the University of Georgia in Forestry and Wildlife and received a Master of Science degree from the University of Tennessee in Botany/Plant Ecology. Hired as a botanist with TVA, he retired as Senior Botanist in 1994 with 27 years of service. He spent most of his career as the Projects Manager for the Fisheries and Aquatic Ecology Branch.
An APMS member for over 20 years, Leon was elected to the Board of Aquatic Plant Management Society in 1980 and served as President in 1984. He is also a charter member and past president of the Midsouth Chapter. Throughout his association with APMS, he has served on and chaired several committees, including bylaws, publications, membership, publications, nominations and local site arrangements.
Over a career distinguished by professionalism, technical expertise and southern charm, he has been active with many conservation and natural resource organizations, including the Weed Science Society of America, Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, American Horticultural Society and North American Lake Management Society. He is also a past president of the Alabama Wildflower Society and the Tennessee River Woodcarvers. He and his wife, Patricia, have two grown sons. Leon is a private consultant for Natural Resources Products and Services and continues his interests in restoring disturbed habitats such as wetlands, riparian zones and natural areas.