|For most of her time at Myhelan she worked full-time with little or no salary, very little staff and a shoestring budget. On any given day her schedule might have included mounting and hanging a new exhibit, planning the upcoming summer arts camp, teaching a sixth-grade class about art as a reflection of aboriginal culture, putting together a grant proposal and preparing for that evening's Myhelan Artist Network meeting.
Myhelan Board of Trustees member Evan Showell, who calls Krapf one of his favorite people in the world, summarizes her energy and determination this way: "If she can't find a way, she makes a way."
But Myhelan was only one of the ways Krapf proved a force to be reckoned with in the community. She helped organize Long Valley's first parade and fall festival, now an annual tradition sponsored by the Washington Township Community Events Organization.
She also served on the township's Municipal Alliance, a state-funded substance abuse prevention initiative, and was appointed by former Mayor Margaret Nordstrom (now a Morris County freeholder) to an ad hoc committee to create a teen center and give young people in the community a safe place to have fun.
In 1996, the FuzzBox Teen Center opened in a building that formerly served as the township's police station, and Krapf volunteered there regularly as a chaperone and program leader.
Meanwhile, Krapf was working with advocacy organizations and United Nations agencies to bring renewable energy technologies to rural villages around the world, a quest that took her to Bejing in 1995 for the Fourth World Conference on Women to present information on behalf of UNICEF about ways women were using renewable energy around the world.
As a member of a UNESCO planning team, she traveled to Zimbabwe in 1997 to introduce solar methods of cooking and purifying water in communities where the land had been stripped of firewood.
During this time, she was also taking care of her family and earning a bachelor's degree in international environmental studies at Rutgers University's Cook College, where she graduated with high honors in 1998.
But where is Krapf now?
From her barn-style home with 48 photovoltaic panels on the roof, Krapf is now mounting her latest campaign to effect positive change in the world.
She is developing a film, titled "Woven Ways," that she hopes will draw attention to the plight of the Navajo weavers on their tribal lands in eastern New Mexico and western Arizona, where dirty coal power plants and toxic uranium mining operations have fouled the environment and jeopardized their way of life.
She says the film will allow the weavers themselves to tell their stories, surrounded by their sheep on the stark dessert landscape and working at their looms in their own homes. She calls it "the most humbling work I've ever done."
According to the Web site Krapf has developed for the film project, the weavings of the Navaho women are not only prized for their beauty of artistic expression, but they also embody the traditional methods -- passed down from mother to daughter for many generations -- of working with wool from the sheep raised on their own land, shearing, cleaning, dying and spinning. For these weavers, life is lived in close relationship with the land.
But decades of uranium mining have contaminated the ground, air and water for hundreds of square miles, causing many birth defects and high rates of cancer and respiratory diseases that have left many widows among the families of the miners, Krapf says.
Now, in spite of a Navajo-signed moratorium banning further uranium mining on tribal land, two new uranium-mining projects are being planned in New Mexico.
"You can't get uranium out of the ground without contaminating the people who live there,"Krapf explains. "This is not a film to engage in a debate about who's to blame. The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act of 1990 shows broad acceptance of the fact that people who worked in those uranium mines suffered harm. The point is that we as a nation have put ourselves in an energy bind and we're looking to remedy our problems on the backs of the Navajo people."
There are other serious environmental problems on the Navajo land. Peabody Coal diverts billions of gallons of precious water from the Navajo Aquifer every year as part of its mining process, and six coal-powered energy plants in the region produce more than half the total CO2 emissions from all coal power plants in the entire United States, further poisoning the air for people on the reservation.
Krapf hopes her film will help inspire support for the environmental rights of Native Americans and force the U.S. government and utility companies to make the shift toward cleaner and more sustainable energy choices.
To that end, she has recruited as the film's executive producer Maria Florio, the Academy Award-winning producer of the 1986 documentary "Broken Rainbow," which depicts the forced relocation of 12,000 Navajos from their ancestral homeland in Arizona in the 1970s to make way for energy exploration.
The film's cinematographer is Sam Goodman, a TV news videographer who is part Navajo and speaks the language, an ability that really helped open doors and gain the trust of the people during filming, Krapf says.
She and her film crew have already made three trips to the region and will finish shooting when they return in October. Krapf plans to start editing in November and to begin private screenings of a roughly edited version of the film by February.
Her goal is to complete the film in May so it can be entered in the Sundance and South by Southwest film festivals, hopefully attracting the interest of independent film distributors.
Krapf's dream has already come a long way, but she is hoping for some financial help in completing the job. Her project has been awarded fiscal sponsorship by the International Center for Global Communications, a nonprofit organization that operates as a financial agent enabling all donations to "Woven Ways" to be tax deductible.
"I'm a first-time filmmaker, and I've worked all my career in nonprofits, so I don't have a pot of money to work with," she explains. "I've already spent every dime that could be squeezed out of my family. So if people want to be on the inside of this story getting told, I welcome their partnership."
For more information about the film and how to help, visit www.wovenways.org.
Julie Lange is a freelance writer.