Jessie Parsons

Executive Director

Retired Lt. Col Adrian Bambini served in the United States Army for 20 years.  He is dedicated to each and every organization he has volunteered with and has devoted much of his life to his passion of serving the community.  His knowledge of plant life, storytelling personality, and passion for trails makes him the perfect trailblazer- literally. Joe Ford Nature Park's beloved trails would not be so beautiful if he were not there to clear the way.  He has been a resident of Owensboro since 2019, has a lovely wife named Linda, and was recently inducted into the Kentucky Veteran's Hall of Fame for his work as a community volunteer.  You can find him just about everyday clearing the way on the Joe Ford Nature Parks trails. 

Meet Our Staff

Mary Kissel

Bird Sanctuary  Specialist

Adrian Bambini

Senior Forest Restoration & Grounds Keeping Specialist

Sashalia Ramirez

Education Coordinator


Sashalia (SAH-SH-AH-LEE-AH) Ramirez is a student volunteer through the Bonner Leadership Program at Kentucky Wesleyan College.  Her major is in Zoology and minor is in Criminal Justice. Her goal is to work in conservation or field research where she can protect, explore, and teach about threatened animals and habitats. Sashalia cares for the Joe Ford Nature center reptiles and is  correlating an upcoming educational program that will be implemented in Middle and High schools in the area. She also volunteers at the Mesker Park Zoo in Evansville as a Docent where she handles animals that live there and educates visitors about the animals in her care.  Back home in Central Florida, you can find her Miniature Pinscher, Rockie Balboa, playing the role of what she describes as "a lazy old man" sleeping patiently for her return during school breaks . Former competitive swimmer and weightlifter, this lady loves adventure- in her free time you can find her hiking through the woods or painting the creatures she observes. 

 Mary Kissel has been a life long bird watcher and talking to chickadees at the Joe Ford Nature Center's bird sanctuary since 2010.  As a child, her father built a "windowsill cafeteria" in her bedroom from an old TV set, from which she watched cardinals and sparrows. She is a longtime board member/educator with the Daviess County Audubon Society and "that bird lady I've seen on the Greenbelt." She is a paginator/copy editor at Paxton Media Group's Owensboro hub. In her free time, she is a member of Immaculate Catholic Church, an avid sports fan, and doting cat mom.  She is a wonderful Volunteer here at the JFNC and a great asset to our team. 

Jessie Parsons graduated from Western Kentucky University and is the current Executive Director at the Joe Ford Nature Center. Born in the Mountains of West Virginia and raised in Daviess County Kentucky, Jessie is no stranger to the outdoors.  She is passionate about the conservation of nature and wildlife and is spirited in her teachings.  She aligns with the mission of reconnecting individuals with nature and feels it is our responsibility as a society to coexist with wildlife and conserve wild places. She is a wife, a Mother of two children and several pets, and her spirit animal is a Coyote. 

Bob Christie is what everyone around here calls "keeper of the snakes".     His kind hospitality and genuinity are just a few qualities that the Joe Ford Nature Center have appreciated throughout the years. He was a life long friends with Grace and Joe Ford and an invaluable team member.  Veteran, Engineer, Electrical work- there is little he hasn't accomplished.  He takes special care of the snakes here at the center and attends every event we offer.  He thinks snakes are misunderstood creatures and devotes his free time here to allow others to experience these amazing creatures. He loves snakes so much, if he could be any animal in the world- he would be an Eastern Black King Snake.

Photographs by: Larry Bidwell,  Deborah Branch, Jessie Parsons, Mike Robinson, Bob Christie


Bob Christie

Senior Animal Care Specialist