"I've always been big on recycling. It's how I feel like I'm doing my part," says singer-actress Ashanti, who was happy to see separate bins "for plastic, paper and regular garbage" on the set of "Army Wives." She has joined the cast of the long-running Lifetime series, starting with the season's second episode on March 17. Her character, Latasha, is the mother of three kids, one of whom has cystic fibrosis, and she's living on the army base while her husband is serving in Afghanistan.

"She's an amazing character. She deals with a lot, and she's a very strong woman," says Ashanti, who's enjoying acting again after a few years away from the camera. The Grammy winner has been concentrating on music, and of late has been writing and recording on weekends and whenever she has a break. She'll release her fifth studio album, "Braveheart," this spring, and plans to take advantage of her TV spotlight. "I'm going to have some of my music in some of the episodes," she says.


Tune in: Bindi Irwin, the daughter of the late wildlife expert Steve Irwin and a budding expert in her own right, stars in the Hallmark Channel movie "Return to Nim's Island," premiering March 15. The plot pits her against poachers and land developers who threaten the endangered animal inhabitants of her island home.

Premiering March 15, Nat Geo Wild's special "Man-Eater of the Congo" is about the search for a deadly crocodile. Wild's "Kingdom of the Seas" miniseries concludes with a pair of episodes on March 17: "Giants of the Deep," covering the blue whale, great white shark, giant jellyfish and other outsize species, and "Sand Wars," about the denizens of the ocean floor.

The Weather Channel's practice of naming winter storms is explained in the March 19 special "A Storm Named Winter."

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Ashanti: 'I've always been big on recycling'
Plus: The daughter of the late wildlife expert Steve Irwin stars in Hallmark movie.