BoyScoutGirl wrote:Pssst, guys... The "five kingdoms" organizational view of life is actually fairly long outdated, though it is still sometimes taught in classrooms. Biologists now use three domains: Eukaryotes (including Fungi and pretty much anything else multicellular that comes to mind), Bacteria, and Archaea (extremophiles, like those single-celled organisms living in hot springs, mine tailing ponds, etc.). Within Eukaryotes, Fungi are of course separate from Plantae (not a term often used any more), just as Fishy says. You can read a lot more here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_%28biology%29 but the basic idea is that the "Five Kingdoms" structure grouped together a lot of organisms under "Prokarya" that actually aren't closely related at all.
As to the original idea, I don't actually think that it would be too difficult to bring some live oyster mushrooms or shiitake to the playa as a demonstration, provided they were nearly ready to harvest. Just bring the log or other growing medium in a sealable plastic box to show people how the 'shrooms are grown and keep said demo box out of the wind when not in use. I expect you'd have to eat or dry the 'shrooms pretty quickly because of the heat, but I think they'd last a few days if kept in the shade.
YES! Let's talk biology I'm liking you guys a lot!