YAKIMA, Wash. — Washington State University is honoring Yakima resident Doris Sonstelie with its 2013 Martin Luther King Jr. award for Distinguished Service in the community category.

Sonstelie, 75, will receive the award during a ceremony Thursday on the Pullman campus.

She is being recognized for her work in the county Master Gardeners program and other community groups in helping young people learn about nature and environmental stewardship.

“I have been very fortunate and very pleased to work with an excellent program and many helpful assistants, parents, community group leaders and happy, eager children,” she said.

The university has conducted the award program since 1988 to recognize work to promote diverse populations, education and inclusion. The awards are given annually to a member of the WSU faculty, a staff member, a student, a university organization and a community member.

Sonstelie has been a member of Master Gardeners since 2006 and has chaired the Yakima County Master Gardeners Youth Program. Her programs for youth involved more than 1,000 students in 2012. She also has been active with the Yakima Area Arboretum, Ready by Five, the Yakima County 4-H Youth Development Program and the North Yakima Conservation District.

She taught elementary school in Montana for 20 years before retiring and becoming involved in Master Gardeners and other local programs.

“I love every minute of it,” she said.