Nature Reliance Instructors

Director and Chief Instructor of Nature Reliance School

Craig Caudill

Founder and Owner Nature Reliance School

Craig Caudill began his outdoor experiences while growing up hunting, fishing, and playing in the woods of Kentucky. For over four decades he has actively pursued experiential knowledge of all things related to wilderness recreation and living.

Due to his love of history he has studied and trained in primitive skills, as well as modern methods to successfully challenge himself in the outdoors. He has trained, trained with, and been trained by some of the best in the world in wilderness related skills


Tracy Trimble

Former Army Reservist

Tracy Trimble grew up near Cave Run Lake which is located in the Daniel Boone National Forest of Central Kentucky and the Appalachian Foothills one of the oldest mountain ranges that exists on Earth. With little to do in rural Kentucky Counties, outside of sports, many days and nights were spent camping, hiking, and horseback riding in the woods. It was a common practice for a group of kids in the area to spend the day exploring the woods, cliffs and trails and then camp for the night. Family vacations were centered on camping in the area as well. Today, Tracy spends his time in the outdoors hiking, camping, kayaking, horse riding, squirrel and turkey hunting when not teaching and training with Nature Reliance School. Tracy still spends over 30 nights per year in the outdoors either on his own or teaching/training with NRS.

Tracy spent six years in the Army Reserve where he spent equal time learning various positions/tasks on the M1 Abrams Tank and as a Drill Sergeant. During his service he developed map/compass and land navigation skills and as such Tracy often leads land navigation classes including field exercises/challenges. He has been training and assisting Craig since the start of NRS. He continues training and studying everything from modern combat tactics and tracking to wilderness and primitive skills to flint knapping and leather working. He is an alumni of Iron Sight Defense (Kentucky), Tyr Group (Louisiana) and Tactical Response (Tennessee) and has trained with Doug Meyer in primitive skills (North Carolina)


Jennifer Caudill

Medicinal/edible plants instructor
Social media maven. :)

Jennifer, the better half to Craig Caudill, wears many hats for Nature Reliance School. She is currently the social media maven for NRS. She is the one posting most of the wonderful things you see on our Facebook, Instagram and Youtube communities. She is also the camera lady and editor for our youtube videos channel. She also teaches all of our edible/medicinal plants classes, whether it be dropping in on our weekend survival classes or taking the presentations to public schools and libraries.

She has a BS in Education K-8 from Eastern Kentucky University. She has had a lifelong passion for artwork and has taught art in several area schools during her career. She is now leading the charge for the NRS agressive programs to combat "Nature Deficit Disorder" for youth. Now that she is the home stretch of homeschooling her two children for their entire K-12 careers, she is focusing much attention on developing the youth to nature programs for NRS. This program has been taught in 5 different school systems at this point and is well on its way to helping school administrations meet their core objectives for national rank testing, and helping kids learn and appreciate more about their natural world.

Assistant Instructor

Zane Caudill

Future soldier
Current most excellent behind the scenes man.

Zane Caudill, son of director Craig Caudill, will continue to be a presence at NRS classes until he starts his military career with Kentucky National Guard. Zane is a behind the scenes presence and proves to be the best gopher and runner we could ever hope for. By being in virtually every single class we have taught since 2006, not to mention being born in the Caudill household, he has developed his own set of skill sets.

Zane is the lead student for the Winchester Police Explorers Post in Winchester, Kentucky. Police Explorers is an extension of the Boy Scouts of America. You can think of Explorers as ROTC for first responders. Zane has intentions of serving his country first and then either continuing that path for leaving to serve a community as a first responder.

Guest Instructor

Rodney Vanzant

Iron Sight Defense, Owner/Instructor
NRS Guest Instructor

Rodney D. Van Zant, owner of Iron Sight Defense, is a Kentucky native, a fifteen year Law Enforcement Officer and current Laurel County Deputy Sheriff/Major and range master. He has spent countless hours refining firearm skills and techniques of instruction to better bridge the gap between every skill level of shooter and tactician.

He has spent over 9 years in L.E. Spec Ops, is a 5 year Team Leader, and certified police marksman/observer, logging hundreds of hours on operations and in training, as both an instructor and student. He is certified through the Ky Department of Criminal Justice Training and also through the National Rifle Association as a L.E. and Civilian Firearms instructor. He is a life member of the N.R.A. and a membership recruiter. He is a graduate, and holds countless certifications, from some of the nation’s most renowned schools and instructors. Rodney has, and continues to instruct hundreds of tactically minded students, both civilian, military and law enforcement.

Guest Instructor

Doug Meyer

Primitive Arts Worldwide Instructor
NRS Guest Instructor

Doug is a good friend to NRS and has taught and mentored us in many ways beyond what is taught in his classes. Doug has been studying skills his whole life but became serious 27 years ago when he met Steve Watts and began studying with him. He learned flintknapping from Dr Errett Callahan and was his teaching assistant for 6 years. He learned tracking from Charles Worsham and has been doing skills ever since.

We hope to see you on, or off the trail!