Leslie Kiehl WINC Education Program Fund

History of this Fund

The Leslie Kiehl WINC Education Program Fund was developed in 2015 in honor of Leslie Kiehl, a former Wildlife in Need Center’s (WINC’s) employee.  Leslie was a dear friend of WINC.  She touched the lives of over 100,000 people while providing WINC animal education programs throughout the community.  With great enthusiasm she educated people of all ages about how wild animals live, how we can live with them, and how we can protect them when they are in need of help.  We lost Leslie in April 2015, when she passed away from cancer.

Leslie’s wish was to have a fund available to be used to help small groups pay for the WINC educational program fee if they are not able to afford all or some of this fee.  The WINC Board of Directors quickly agreed this was a great idea to develop as a tribute to Leslie and approved getting it started before Leslie passed away.  It is WINC’s honor to develop the Leslie Kiehl WINC Education Fund in celebration of Leslie’s commitment to and service in wildlife education.

How to Make a Donation to this Fund

Donations and memorials may be made directly to this fund by indicating “Leslie Kiehl WINC Education Program Fund” on the check, donation form, or under the “special instructions” section of our online donation platform (found here)


How to Apply for this Fund

Leslie requested the fund applicants include how the group will “pay it forward” to wildlife in the form of a service project.  The main goal is for groups to take an active part in fostering the environment and benefit our wildlife neighbors in some way.


STEP ONE:  Brainstorm for “pay it forward” ideas!

Past examples of projects and ideas are:

  • Participating in habitat restoration
  • Planting native species of plants to benefit wildlife (link to more information on WI DNR website)
  • Trash pick-up in wildlife habitat areas, including forests, neighborhoods, and city parks
  • Petitioning for signage at a known turtle or other wildlife crossings
  • Building and installing nest boxes
  • Showing environmental awareness and our impact on the environment
  • Participating in a bird count like this one
  • Take what you learn from our educational program and become an ambassador by giving a presentation to your peers about ways we can help wildlife – help spread the word!
  • Hold a fundraising event that will raise funds for and awareness about the Wildlife in Need Center

This is only a small handful of examples to help get you started, but we welcome your creative thoughts and love hearing your ideas on ways we can help our wild neighbors!


STEP TWO:  Download, complete, and email the application 

  1. Download the application by clicking on this link:  {LKEPF Application}
  2. Thoroughly complete and save the application
  3. Email the completed application to education@helpingwildlife.org

Applications must be received by the following dates for a program that will be held after the deadline (example:  submit an application by February 15th for a program you would like for a date in March.  Applying early is fine, too.  For example, submitting an application by February 15th for a program you would like the following November):

1. February 15th
2. May 15th
3. September 15th

Applications will be reviewed three times a year (just after the deadline dates) and approved by a special committee.  Approved applicants will have all or a portion of the WINC education program fee paid for through this fund.  The WINC education program will be provided on a mutually agreed upon date.

STEP THREE:  Complete your service project and provide documentation and photos 

  • Upon completion of your project, we will need a brief summary report that includes how the service project was completed, any roadblocks and/or unforeseen outcomes, and the age and number of the people that participated, etc.
  • Please provide photographs of the service project being completed – we love seeing the pictures!


Click here to request an Education Program!


A Little More about Leslie Kiehl and WINC

Leslie started as an animal care volunteer at WINC in 2001. She was hired as WINC’s Education Coordinator in 2003. In this position, she was instrumental in starting the WINC education program and developing all of the education programs. Our animal ambassadors (education program animals) were nurtured by Leslie so that they were able to develop the trust needed to go out on programs. She provided well over 1,060 WINC education programs. These programs were tailored to the individual needs of different age groups and desired program lengths. Many children sent thank you cards and drawings of these programs to Leslie. They were proudly posted on the walls at WINC. She was also on the local television stations with several of our animal ambassadors.

There are countless other things that Leslie did to help WINC meet its mission and vision. Her bright, positive attitude, smile, and laugh could brighten anyone’s day. She has instilled a love and respect for animals with people from pre-kindergarten through seniors that will be left as her beautiful legacy. Whether you were an acquaintance from seeing a WINC program, a friend, a co-worker, or could recognize her at the grocery store as “the lady with the owl” Leslie’s warm, caring personality made you feel like you were family. WINC was blessed to have Leslie a part of its team. She is deeply missed by everyone she touched. It is our hope that her legacy lives on, in part, through this Fund.