Faces from the Past

 

Bryant Bateman was first LSU forestry graduate in 1926
By James Barnett
Journal Correspondent
Bryant Bateman was born in 1900 on a farm near Franklinton, Louisiana, and graduated from the public schools there. He attended Louisiana State University for a year, and then taught in Washington Parish schools for three years. He returned to LSU in 1923 and graduated in 1926 with a degree in forestry. He was likely influenced by his older brother, F.O. 'Red' Bateman, who without much formal education became ranger for Great Southern Lumber Company and led the development of nursery and reforestation practices for that company (see profile on F.O. 'Red' Bateman). Bryant was employed by the Great Southern Lumber Company for a few years after his graduation from LSU in 1926. As a forester, he was involved in tree planting, timber estimating, fire suppression, growth studies and land surveying. He became a licensed land surveyor.

Bryant was the first student to graduate from LSU in forestry, and after his work experience at Great Southern Lumber Company, he joined the forestry faculty in Baton Rouge in 1931 as its Interim Head. He entered graduate school in forestry at Iowa State University and received a master's degree in 1934.

Bateman continued his education at the University of Michigan where he earned his doctorate in forestry and game management. He was a student during 1937 and 1938 and was awarded his degree in 1949.

During World War II, he assumed the duties of extension forester and traveled the state, teaching forest practices to rural residents. His research interests were farm forestry, upland forest wildlife management, use of fire in silviculture and wildlife management.

In 1947, Bateman became the 'father' of LSU's game management (later 'wildlife') degree program. He was instrumental in bringing Leslie Glasgow to the wildlife faculty in 1948. Bateman taught forestry in the early days of the school, then upland wildlife management. Fishing was his hobby, and he introduced fisheries into the School's academic program. Later he helped bring a fisheries specialist to the facility.

Of particular interest was forest management as habitat for upland game, woodlot management for timber and pine straw, use of fire in forest and wildlife management, and feeding habits of wildlife. His interest in use of pine straw as mulch in the strawberry growing area near Hammond preceded such use as an agroforestry practice. Bateman was, also, an early and strong advocate of prescribed burning.

In 1965, Bateman won the first Louisiana Governor's State Conservation Award, and also the 1965 Conservationist of the Year Award from the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association. He served as an advisor to state legislators in wildlife legislation and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries on the management of bottomland hardwood forests as wildlife habitat. In 1972, he was named 'Alumnus of the Year' by the LSU Forestry, Wildlife and Forestry Alumni Association. He helped organize the Louisiana Wildlife Federation and served on it board of directors, as well as a number of other professional organizations.

He retired in 1971 and was named Professor Emeritus. He died in 1984 and in 2004 the Bryant A. Bateman Professorship in Natural Resources was established in the School.

Dr. Bateman was known, loved and respected by hundreds of fellow teachers, former students, professional colleagues, agricultural leaders, farm and forest landowners and just plain people throughout the South. Colleague Professor A.B. Crow states of Bryant Bateman, "His dedication to wise land use and harmony of all interests in forest and wildlife management was felt by all who came under his kindly spell. He was a quiet man, had an unequaled sense of fairness, and was strong in conviction but gentle in putting forward his views. He was simply, "a great man".

(A 1970 article about Bryant Bateman published in Forests & People magazine was used as a resource for this article)

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