New members don googly eyes as they get inducted into Mr. Trash Wheel's Order of the Wheel club in 2019. Photo by Winston Zhou.

For the first time in three years, the Order of the Wheel will induct a new group of devotees of Mr. Trash Wheel, Baltimore’s original garbage-gobbling water wheel.

The Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore’s Healthy Harbor Initiative, which oversees Mr. Trash Wheel and the rest of the trash wheel family, is recruiting new members for the Order as a way to encourage stewardship of local waterways.

“We wanted to create a club for people who love the trash wheels and the environment,” said Adam Lindquist, vice president of the Healthy Harbor Initiative, in a statement. “In the past, when we ask people to pick up litter maybe a couple of people did it, but when we asked them to join a secret society and pick up litter, we engaged thousands!”  

Trash wheel fans can apply online to be part of the Order of the Wheel. Applicants must complete a cleanup in their community, park, stream or waterfront, and submit photo proof. 

Applications must be submitted by midnight April 16 to be eligible for induction into the Order.

Accepted applicants will be sorted into one of four Trash Wheel “houses”:  Turtleroar, Rattypaw, Otterfluff and Snekerin. Order of the Wheel inductees will also receive a secret code name, a certificate from Mr. Trash Wheel, knowledge of the secret handshake, a membership pin, members-only communications from Mr. Trash Wheel, and Order of the Wheel induction instructions.

Inductees will also be publicly recognized at Mr. Trash Wheel’s Earth Day birthday party event, which will take place April 22 from 3-6 p.m. at Pierce’s Park in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

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Marcus Dieterle

Marcus Dieterle is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. He returned to Baltimore in 2020 after working as the deputy editor of the Cecil Whig newspaper in Elkton, Md. He can be reached at

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